Famed theatre practitioner, Bolanle Austen-Peters (BAP) is set for her second project as a movie director. An excited BAP announced that the flick had been titled ‘Palava’. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports
Bolanle Austen-Peters’ feature film titled ‘Palava’ is ready. The flick is based on the menace of police brutality and the tragic EndSARS protest of October 2020. Sharing bits of the movie project via her Instagram, which coincided with her 52nd birthday, the stage and film director wrote: “Palava is a thought provoking drama addressing topical issues such as family conflict, corrupt agents and love.” Palava adds to Austen-Peters’ list of movies handled either as director or producer. The others are ‘93 Days’ produced in 2016, and ‘The Bling Lagosians’ produced in 2019.
At the instance of her 52nd birthday, this movie producer, simply called BAP by some fans, recalls being a lawyer with the United Nations and living the glam lifestyle to discovering her soul in Terra Kulture (a theatre hub she founded) and meeting the soul of Nigerians, teaching her “to love”.
BAP revealed that “Palava”, written and co-produced by James Amuta, who produced 2017’s ‘Nightfall in Lagos’, will feature amazing stars and performances from Bimbo Manuel, Chioma Akpotha, Daniel Etim Effiong, Kalu Ikeagwu, Kenneth Okolie, Kelechi Udegbe; Zainab Balogun, Bamike ‘Bambam’ Olawunmi-Adenibuyan and Vanessa Vandora.
She shared the post with a video from a photo shoot last year which she captioned: “52 today! Thankful and grateful to all the people who have been a part of my imperfect journey. From lawyer with the United Nations @ the Palais des Nation in Geneva living the glam lifestyle; to UNHCR in Addis Ababa, working with the displaced/refugees giving me grounding and teaching me compassion; to Namibia working on development programmes and alleviating poverty; to Law firms teaching me to defend the defenseless and finally to Terra kulture discovering my soul and meeting the soul of Nigerians and teaching me ‘to love’. “My Terrakulture team. You are the best and all those who passed through us and are passing through us and will pass through us, thank you for teaching me to identify and respect talent. I cherish every memory. As I continue this path with the release of another movie ‘Palava’, I am thankful for the gift of creativity bestowed upon me by God Almighty.”
BAP, the founder of Terra Kulture: a Nigerian Arts and Culture Centre, and the CEO of BAP Productions- a Theatre and Movie Production Company, located in Lagos, has made a reputation for herself by making art of out of social issues and modern-day epochs.
Terra Kulture, which is the first privately-owned multipurpose theatre in Nigeria, has hosted some of the best theatre shows in Nigeria since its inception. It also boasts of a Nigerian restaurant and a bookstore. Terra Kulture has organized art exhibitions, plays, movie screenings, and high-profile meetings. It was the venue for the anniversary of Nigeria’s foremost Television series: The Village Headmaster. It also hosted the screening of Nigeria’s representation at the 93rd Academy Awards: The Milkmaid, written and produced by Desmond Obviagele.
It is believed that BAP takes no prisoners in her productions. Movie lovers would be excited to see another story to enjoy with “Palava”. BAP is behind historical productions like Saro the Musical, Wakaa The Musical, Fela and The Kalakuta Queens, Olurombi The Musical, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, Moremi the Musical, about the 12th century Yoruba queen.
In 2013, Austen-Peters established her own production company called Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions (BAP). The company entered the Nigerian theatre industry with its first production, SARO the Musical. The production attracted critical reviews and accolades from the BBC and Sky News. In December 2014 and April 2015, BAP Productions performed SARO the Musical at the renowned Muson Centre. The Musical became the first Nigerian musical to be performed at London’s West End and Shaw Theatre.
In December 2015, BAP Productions performed its second production, Wakaa the Musical. The show toured Lagos and was performed in London’s West End from 21 to 25 July 2016. In December 2017, Bolanle Austen-Peters brought to life and directed the legendary Fela and The Kalakuta Queens musical. This globally acclaimed musical has gone on to become the biggest out of West Africa having had over 120,000 people watch it being shown in Lagos, Cairo and in Pretoria between 2017 and 2020.
The musical is based on the real-life story of the legendary Nigerian music icon and activist, Fela Kuti and the women who stood by him. Austen-Peters also directed in 2018, Moremi the Musical which tells the story of the 12th century Yoruba legend Queen who liberated the people of Ife from the grasp of their enemies. Her direction of Moremi the Musical received critical reviews and accolades from Professor Wole Soyinka describing it as; “a theatrical Landmark in Nigeria’s theatre history”.
From her 2015 feature film, “93 Days,” about the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and her directorial debut, “The Bling Lagosian”, a Nigerian drama which mirrors a Lagos high society family life, BAP has etched her name documenting stories and making them timeless using theatre and film. 93 Days received the highest nominations in the 2017 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards – AMVCAs, a total of thirteen nominations, receiving an award for best lighting designer. 93 Days was also nominated in seven categories for the 2017 Africa Movie Academy Awards – AMAA, which was the highest nominated film in that year’s awards.
Part of the successes she ascribes to the abundance of talents in the country. From the records, it is almost impossible to talk about Nigeria’s vibrant art and entertainment scene today without mentioning Bolanle Austen-Peters.
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