Creative Economies Africa




By Dr Folakemi Ogungbe

What is the use of the Arts, if it cannot be incubated and reproduced in the younger generation? A theatre performance is transient – that is the very nature of the Art- the more reason why it has to be passed to the younger generation so that the culture of life theatre can continue.  This project involves an intensive training/incubation workshop that will culminate in the presentation of “I confess”, a play by written by Makinde Adeniran.

Adeniran Makinde explains that he has worked with both of his collaborators before this project. Omo’Ba Jerry Adesewo’s Arojah Theatre Company, which is based in Abuja, has invited him for different purposes before now, from Makinde’s base in Lagos. He remembers a certain time that his play was being performed and he had to travel from Lagos, to meet the cast and crew for a few days, to integrate them into the play performance. Corroborating this, Omo’Ba Jerry Adesewo explains that he has worked with Makinde several times and his Theatre Company, Arojah, has used his plays several times as well. He also stated that Makinde has previously facilitated a masterclass for them and he has also been a judge in a playwriting competition. He has directed plays as well.

Ola Awaakan is also very well known to Makinde. Ola Awaakan who is a journalist and a playwright works with TVC news in Lagos. Makinde wants Ola Awaakan to read the play from the angle of a newsman as the play “I confess” was adapted from an earlier draft of a radio play by Makinde. It is an unconventional play with a cast of two who are seated in a replica of radio station studio set from start to finish. There is no stage direction and the action contained in their story is projected on a screen above them. Makinde wanted Ola to read the play from the lens of a newsman and offer suggestions and the “reportage” that will be screened above the actors. Omo’Ba Jerry Adesewo in his own case has never worked with Ola Awaakan but he has followed his both his media and his creative works for a while.

Makinde stated that this play would be giving visibility to the people of the press due to the kind of set and style that will be employed in the execution of the play. Makinde says he has submitted the play to the producer, Omo’Ba, who is running with it, and he says he cannot wait to see the execution of his play.

Makin as Makinde is affectionately called in theatre circles believes that the skillsets of the three collaborators are complimentary. While Makin is the writer, Ola provides the reportage while Omo’Ba is the producer. The workshop and the play is set in Abuja, so Makin and Ola would be joining virtually as facilitators.

Talking about the objectives of the project, Omo’Ba says that the project will be beneficial to the participants, the audience and the society at large. Speaking further, he notes that the Nigerian economy is at a state right now where there are no jobs and people just have to provide jobs for themselves. The incubation workshop, beyond concentrating on the creative and artistic development, will also talk about building entrepreneurial skills for Theatre, doing “Theatre for a purpose”, it will look at the business and managerial side of theatre and how to build a sustainable theatre practice in the post Covid-19 era. The participants will benefit from the rich experiences of the collaborators as well as other invited teachers and speakers because these are people who have practised the Performance Arts for several decades and have made a success out of it.

Makinde believes that history is important because if you do not know where you are coming from, you cannot know where you are going. The young people need to know about the history of the nation, an aspect of which is tackled in the play “I confess.” The play talks about the history of the Niger-Delta and how generations to come will always have to live with the consequences of the actions or inactions of the past. It is also a warning to the youngsters to take the future seriously and be ready to live with the consequences of the actions of today. Ola Awaakan believes that among many other benefits, the project will equip youngsters for better professional development.

The idea from the project is a marriage of an existing idea from the Arojah playwriting workshop and an idea from the Creative Imagination Week which came to Makinde. He then reached out to Omo’Ba and Ola and the rest as they say, is history!

The AHSCE is proud to support Voice It: An Artvism Incubation programme!