Arts & Design

How Lagos Theatre Festival 2024 Revives Cultural Energy


At its 9th edition, the Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) has grown into an anticipated annual ritual, where theatre enthusiasts and practitioners eagerly look forward to satiate their longings for a unique theatre experience. 


Positioned to explore unconventional methods in the Nigeria theatre landscape, this year’s edition of the Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) was themed ‘Showcase 2024.’ By all standards, lived up to its billings when it held on Saturday March 2nd 2024. 


This edition featured four productions in one day: three from Nigeria and one from the Republic of Ireland. 


Tosin Adeyemi, an experienced stage actor, produced the festival and a play entitled “Before I let you go” for B/Rated Productions with an amazing cast namely Tope Tedela and Amanda Iriekpen.


While reminiscing on the festival level of success, the delectable thespian (Adeyemi) talked about how much the festival has contributed immensely to the cultural landscape of Lagos while impacting on the ecosystem.


“Lagos Theatre Festival has been part of us for nine years,” Adeyemi revealed. 


Speaking about the level of participation this year, Adeyemi added: “We have hosted nine festivals, with over 203 productions, 52 workshops/panels and over 590 shows. We have reached over 42,800 physically and over 770 million online. A huge feat, if I must say so myself. We curate plays, concerts, poetry sessions, workshops that reflect our traditions, beliefs , culture, society and more. We also have showcases and markets included in the programming of the Festival. Imagine walking into the  Freedom Park, and you are greeted with spectacular views, paintings, materials, fabrics, accessories, storytelling that are particular to tribes in Africa.”


“This is what Lagos Theatre Festival does. We promote our culture by combining every single thing that is African and present it to you for your appreciation. Providing this platform for emerging and established artists to continue to produce impactful work has been the objective of the Festival, and we are committed to running with this vision.”


Adeyemi who doubled as producer of the play “Before I let you go” said the first hurdle was how short a time she had to prepare and to get a script worthy of expression. However, she concluded saying she was more particular about the characters “Irene and Gbenga”, and who the actors would be. 


“I was optimistic that we would get the best. She said. “Before I let you go” is a dialogue-driven play and the actors needed to be conversational in their delivery. Eventually, I found the best actors, I must say. Tope and Amanda killed every line, every look, every reaction and the audience felt every single moment. In the end, we achieved our goal of a befitting show!” 


Equally ecstatic about the success of the play is its director Bimbo Olorunmola. He said while it’s pretty difficult to identify the most memorable moment from rehearsals to the stage performance, for Olorunmola, from the point when he got the script, till the play was staged, remains indelible in his mind.


“Thankfully, we got Tope and Amanda who are heavyweights in their own rights with a great profile in the industry and we pulled it off. Also, you know directing actors with such  profiles, presents its own challenges,” Olorunmola said.


“I haven’t had the opportunity to direct this profile of actors, so that was one landmark for me. Doing a two-man piece can be pretty hard. The goal was to present something intimate, drawing the audience into the play via Irene and Gbenga’s connection and bringing the nuances of two people, just having conversation without being overly dramatic with unnecessary movements,” Olorunmola concluded. 



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