UK Remains Committed to Supporting Nigeria’s Culture, Creative Industries – Deputy High-Commissioner

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The United Kingdom’s (UK) Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones has restated the country’s commitment to Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and her creative industries, in further enhancing the Nigerian, British, relationship.

He made this remarks recently at a private performance by the Lagos Theatre Festival organised by the Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA) in conjunction with the Lagos Theatre Festival, at the residence of the British Deputy High Commissioner

In his remarks, the Commissioner said he was particularly happy about the partnership between the Nigeria Britain Association and the Lagos Theatre Festival.

“It’s good to see that the work British Council started by establishing the Lagos Theatre Festival and handed over to the independent board has made commendable progress.

“Nigeria has a large economy across Africa, and is home to rich cultural heritage and offers great opportunities in the areas of dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts.

“The Nigerian cultural and creative industry has grown over the years and stood the test of time. This is evident in its contribution to the Nigerian economy through its increased job creation and export earnings.

“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) estimates that the movie industry generates between $500 million and $800 million annually, and accounts for about 2 per cent of the GDP.

“However, there is still a lot to be done, as there are specific challenges faced by the industry. Unfortunately, over the past year, the pandemic has also had its negative effects on the industry as stage plays and live concerts were put on hold.

“Regardless, even in these challenging times, we have seen a shift in the music industry as two Nigerian artistes – Burna Boy and Wizkid won the Grammy Awards this year, hence there is no doubt that other sectors in the creative industry will excel more with the right levels of exposure and partnerships.

“The UK remains committed to supporting the Nigerian cultural and creative industries and I hope discussions from today’s event helps to strengthen the UK-Nigeria relationship,” he said.

Also speaking, the President, Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA), Mr. Shola Tinubu noted that N-BA has a rich heritage that dates back over 51 years.

“The N-BA was incorporated as a non- profit trust, with the primary objective to develop relationships between individuals and organisations in Nigeria, Britain and the Commonwealth resident in Nigeria through the exchange of culture and encouragement of sponsorship for the common good.

“This evening, we proudly present a drama presentation by the Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF). LTF is the largest performing arts festival in West Africa. It grew from the need to promote theatre in a unique way.

“Practitioners (producers and content makers) are encouraged to create art works that can adapt to unconventional spaces beyond mere traditional theatre stage spaces.

“The Festival was founded by the British Council in 2013 and sought to strengthen relationships between Britain and Nigeria through theatre. It has continued to grow and is now being managed by a Board of Directors comprising actors, arts entrepreneurs, producers/directors and arts enthusiasts.

“The N-BA is proud to be involved with the 2021 edition of the Festival, tagged ‘Reckless Art’ as it presents an opportunity for creators to be innovative in driving creativity and performances without any limits.”

Tinubu concluded that, in the associations drive towards encouraging arts, creativity, culture and youth development, the association partnered with the LTF “in an exclusive/private drama presentation to drive N-BA objectives in the area of arts, culture and youth development in collaboration with the British Deputy High Commission.”