The British Council Nigeria has announced Kenneth Uphopho as the Artistic Director of Lagos Theatre Festival 2016.
This was revealed in a press statement sent to Newswatch Times. Uphopho, according to the statement, was selected by a panel of experts after an open call issued earlier this year.“Lagos Theatre Festival returns bigger and better next year as part of UK/Nigeria 2015–16, a major season of arts work in Nigeria aimed at building new audiences, creating new collaborations and strengthening relationships.
Lagos Theatre Festival 2016 will take place at several venues on Lagos Island and the mainland with a curated programme running alongside a fringe strand of affiliated performances allowing a greater than ever number of artists and audiences to take part. To support emerging playwrights Lagos Theatre Festival sought submissions of scripts for the Festival. Playwrights were asked to reflect the experiences of young people living in Lagos today.
“Kenneth Uphopho has been part of the Lagos theatre scene for more than two decades. He has directed over 60 productions for Performing Arts Workshop and Studio (where he is also Creative Director) and other independent theatre production houses both in Nigeria and internationally. As an actor, he has appeared in over 200 stage productions, in films and on television. His most recent directorial credits include Saro the Musical 2, an adaptation of Sheila Ojei’s blog Single In Gidi, Bobo Omotayo’s London Life Lagos Living, Bode Asiyanbi’s Shattered and Abiodun Kassim’s Band Aid. Kenneth has also co-produced and managed major events including Lagos Theatre Festival 2014, World Dance Day, Black Heritage Festival, International Theatre Day and A Harvest with Soyinka.
“As part of the preparations for Lagos Theatre Festival 2016, Julian Caddy and Sarah Perryman from UK festival Brighton Fringe visited Lagos in March 2015 to facilitate workshops in fringe participation; the Lagos Theatre Festival team met with producers, performers and programmers in Brighton in May. Brighton Fringe will continue to support the team in the lead up to for Lagos Theatre Festival 2016,” the statement revealed.
The Director Arts, British Council Nigeria, Ojoma Ochai, said: “When we launched Lagos Theatre Festival in 2013, we knew we wanted to change the face of performing arts in Lagos and we are proud of how far the festival has come. This has been made possible thanks to the passion, talent and drive of the team and the commitment of the theatre makers we have been privileged to work with. We look forward to the 2016 festival as we work towards the vision of Lagos emerging as the theatre capital of sub-Saharan Africa by 2024.”
Responding to the gesture, the Director, Lagos Theatre Festival, Kenneth Uphopho, said: “I'm really excited about this opportunity to be working with the British Council. The Lagos Theatre Festival is creating a wonderful platform for theatre makers in Nigeria to collaborate and to showcase their work and next year we will reach more people than ever.”