Double Award Winning Play Hits Abuja: Meet the Actors

Coming to Abuja this December is a thrilling stage performance of double award winning play 54 Silhouettes written & directed by Africa Ukoh. The play won the 2011 BBC African Performance 1st runner up prize and was one of 30 creative works selected for the 2012 Stratford East/30 Nigeria House prize.

Now, in 2013, after a premiere performance in Jos, Plateau state, which received very positive reviews, African Renaissance Theatre & Entertainment is set to enthrall audiences in Abuja with a performance of 54 Silhouettes.

And who will be the creative talents lighting up the stage? Well, meet the actors:

20131126-152414.jpg

20131126-152525.jpg

20131126-152501.jpg

20131126-152645.jpg

20131126-155500.jpg

Venue: French Institut, Abuja, Wuse 2 (Beside Mr. Biggs)
Date: 5th & 6th December
Time: 6pm (pre-show entertainment), 7pm (main show)
Tickets: N2000

Costumes and accessories by ONTOP Apparels, a leader in top quality fashion.
Photography by Victor Audu from VIA Concepts.

Related stories:
A.R.T announces performance of double award winning play 54 Silhouettes in Abuja.
How creative are you? Put your imagination to the test with A.R.T’s Creative Interpretation Challenge.
Meet the characters from 54 Silhouettes.
Photos from rehearsals of 54 Silhouettes.

Advertisements

A.R.T Proudly Presents…

20130902-115053.jpg

This year in Abuja, double award winning stage play 54 Silhouettes written & directed by Africa Ukoh, will be dazzling audiences. Watch this space!

For enquiries and information on how you can be a part of this production:

Email: artheaterent@gmail.com
Mobile: +234 803 620 7841 or +234 818 279 1789

Femi Amogunla: My Name, My Identity

From the groundbreaking 30 Nigeria House project, a young voice in traditional Yoruba poetry, evoking the rhythms of timeless wisdom, sings itself into the okan (heart) of African poetry. His name is Femi Amogunla.

poetic sight

Femi on NTA hilltop, Ile Ife, Osun state, for location check. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

The man, the poet
Femi Amogunla is an actor, spoken word and voice-over artist based in Ibadan, Nigeria. He studied English Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, after which he proceeded to the Royal Arts Academy for a Diploma in Acting where he graduated as the best acting student. Performance is one word with many meanings for Femi; many of them, he loves.

spoken word

Femi at Oranmiyan park, Ile Ife. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

His project
In June of 2012 Femi was selected as one of 30 award winners for the prestigious 30 Nigeria House project, an initiative of Theatre Royal Stratford East and New World Nigeria. His project has seen Femi develop a spoken word piece titled: My Name, My Identity.

The poem My Name, My Identity focuses on the beauty of Yoruba culture as captured in the significance of a name, in this case, Femi’s name. In the Yoruba belief system, what you are called and how you are called goes a long way to affect what you turn out to be.

The narrator of the poem insists that he should be called by his name, the way it should be; not as an abbreviation or as a nickname because, it is believed that ‘whatever’ you are called has a meaning.

artists of the word spoken

Poetry makers. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

The poet draws on personal examples of the challenges that he has faced when it comes to his name, and draws on how he has been able to keep bearing his name despite these.

The poem also goes ahead to show the challenges of holding on to this culture of naming in a fast changing world that seems to impose its change on one. The narrator refuses any version of his name, and takes pride in what he’s called, drawing from the Yoruba culture and history.

Rendered in English, this poem has a universal appeal, yet it is sprinkled with local Yoruba language, the poet calls the audience to a different language, to a different culture. It also makes use of accepted codes of culture like music.Finally, it educates others about African lives, African pride and the struggle of the African past.

The Making of: My Name, My Identity

shooting scenes

On set: Mayowa Olajide, Femi and Elujoba Folusho. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope

Filming the Project
Speaking about the filming of this poetic piece Femi notes the project exposed him to “varied experiences”. Shot in locations in Ile Ife, Osun State, the project took about three months to go through the lifecycle of pre-production to production to post-production. In order to fully capture the resonance of the poetry, audio was done separately from the shoot and as the poet puts it “that alone was hard work”.

poetic shots

There is music in poetry, there is dance in words. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope

This being the first video shoot of his poetry, Femi says with a reminiscent smile, “I learnt so many lessons from the experience. It is one that I would gladly repeat. Now, I look forward to more recordings of my work”.

Crew
Sometimes it can take an entire village to see a project such as this grow from seed to fruition, that makes nothing more encouraging than working with a crew who give the best to the task.

shooting scenes

On set: Folusho (left), Femi (center) and Mayowa (right)

Speaking of the crew Femi says: “my director, Imole Adisa who is also the creative director of The Masque Troupe did a wonderful job. The bata dancer Folusho Elujoba is a force to reckon with. Also the effort of the cinematographer, Mayowa Olajide, who also doubled as the editor cannot be over emphasised. My costumier was Soji Gbelekale, so you know where the colourful traditional attires came from. The words all flow into one lovely poem and that’s thanks to Temitayo Olofinlua, the content director; she took the idea from the first draft and transformed it into a great poem.

dance to poetry

Folusho in motion. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

Challenges
Nothing beats the stories of challenges we face during the production of a work of art. Femi shared some with us:

“While leaving for location, I told my wife I should be home in four – maximum five – days. This was because I had everything set – or so I thought. My location manager and I kept exchanging mails and all of that to be sure we won’t be spending more than a week.

on set, directors and actors

Director Imole Adisa (left) giving directions to Femi (center) and Folusho (right). Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

When I got to Ile-Ife, the first challenge I had was getting appropriate time for rehearsals as the drummer, my director and even my cinematographer all had unexpected issues to attend to. We kept scheduling and re-scheduling until we got it done after three days. The first thing we did was to do the audio session. We booked an all-night session and that was tedious. One person did the drumming. There were three different drums. So imagine, each sound after the other. It was demanding. I had to do the recitation every time he picked an entirely different drum.

Palm wine in calabash

The throat and the earth, they must be made wet with wine. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

After two days, we headed for location somewhere in front of the Oni of Ife’s palace only to be sent away by someone who claimed to be in charge of the place. Meanwhile my location manager had spoken to someone who also presented himself as being in charge of the place. All the shots we had before the intervention had to be cancelled. It was quite difficult getting a place to use eventually but in the end, it all went well”.

A poet’s gratitude
The work at last a reality; the video completed and many lessons learnt, Femi considers himself “a better poet… hopefully” emerging from this unforgettable adventure. Expressing his joy and gratitude Femi says “Thanks to everyone for making this a reality. The amazing crew. The Theatre Royal Stratford East and 30 Nigeria House for the opportunity. The other 29 lucky winners. Let’s change our world, one word, one poem, one play, at a time.”

If like us you are eager to see, hear and resonate more with Femi and his world of expressions, the poet assured us his works – in video, audio and text formats – will soon be accessible via his website: http://www.ogbenifemi.com

Find out more about the 30 Nigeria House project here.. A.R.T is proud to be part of one of the projects under 30 Nigeria House, find out more here.

Have You Heard About the 30 Nigeria House project?

What is 30 Nigeria House project?
30 Nigeria House (30NH) project is a legacy project aimed at making significant investment in the works of 30 young talented artists of Nigerian descent, as a means of developing the arts, culture and entertainment industries.

This groundbreaking project, an initiative of New World Nigeria in collaboration with leading UK theater company Theatre Royal Stratford East, has brought to surface stellar young talent in various fields of the arts in Nigeria and the UK. The 30 award winners (23 British-Nigerians and 7 Nigerians) are a diverse blend of emerging and established artists – actors, singers, dancers, poets, filmmakers and more.

Through the project, Theatre Royal Stratford East and New World Nigeria are supporting the artists with awards of £3000, thus making a major contribution to the development of their original creative works, ranging from film, to music, to theatre. Through the 30NH project, the young artists have made noteworthy contributions to the artistic communities in South Africa and UK.

54 Silhouettes by Africa Ukoh
Among the winners is young Nigerian writer Africa Ukoh, whose award winning play 54 Silhouettes was selected under the theatre category. A.R.T is currently developing 54 Silhouettes for theatrical performance.

The play tells the story of a struggling Nigerian actor in Hollywood who gets the chance to star in a blockbuster film but, upon discovering the film to be merely a stereotypical and derogatory portrayal of his country and continent, he finds himself at odds with the very same forces that would bring him success, as he fights to preserve the dignity of his African identity.

54 Silhouettes won the first runner-up prize in the 2011 BBC African performance competition. Listen to the BBC World Service broadcast of the play here and find out more about Africa Ukoh’s project here.

The Vision
Our dream for this project is to use theatre as an art form for promoting and empowering not only a positive image for Africa but a complete one as well. The expanse of the African story deserves to be told in its rich entirety.

20130426-195742.jpg

30NH reflects Nigeria’s recognition of its dynamically talented people and the importance of supporting its creative industries and talented people. A.R.T is excited to be working on this 30NH project and aspire to bring nothing less than a terrific theatrical experience to the African continent. The journey has only just begun.

Visit the 30 Nigeria House project page on the Theatre Royal Stratford East website to find out more.

Contact information
Do you believe in the power of African arts? We would love you to be a part of this project! To find out more on how you can get involved email us at: artheaterent@gmail.com

You can also visit our contact page or call +234 803 620 7841 or +234 818 663 0223.

African Jambalaya: official press release

20130103-140438.jpg

Contact:
Tel: +44 (0) 7958165107
Email: afjam@damwin.co.uk
Website: http://www.africanjambalaya.com/

Damwin Media Announces the Date for ‘African Jambalaya’ – The Afro-beats Fairytale

On January 1st, 2013 Damwin Media announced the dates for ‘African Jambalaya’, an African themed showcase. The event would be held on January 26, 2013 at SYNC LONDON – 361 High Street Stratford, London, E15 4OZ. The evening promises to be a mix of diverse African culture with entertainment variety consisting of dance, music, poetry and drama among others.

About Damwin Media
Two young graduates from Brunel University have formed an alliance by creating a company called Damwin Media to create an Afro-beats theatre production called ‘African Jambalaya’ (An Afrobeats fairytale) The company has collaborated with different organisation like ‘Imperial Dynasty’ and ‘Smart Promo/SIP’ and worked on projects like Africa Unplugged amongst others.

On this project they have collaborated with a modern theatre group ‘Silhouettez in the Dark’ to create the first ever Afro-beats fairytale in theatres in order to highlight upcoming talent to the world.

About the Show
King Diamond (Desmond Elliot) strikes up a deal with ‘Oba Toh Badt’ (Adot Comedian) the most feared Babalawo of the land to save his daughter from her ashewo ways. Come and see the wahala that happens next!!!

Multi Award winning artist ‘Wande Coal’, Nigerian actor and director ‘Desmond Elliot’ along with the YouTube sensation ‘Adot Comedian’ and New comer ‘June Ubi’ are just a few names that will be taking part in this production.

Tickets can be purchased from ‘Ticketmania’ on 0208 555 0044 or http://www.ticketmania.co.uk Each ticket costs £25 but early bird tickets are £20