British Council announces Artistic Director for Lagos Theatre Festival 2016

In preparation for the return of Lagos Theatre Festival next year as part of UK/Nigeria 2015–16 an artistic director has been selected by a panel of experts after an open call issued earlier this year.

Kenneth Uphopho will be the artistic director for Lagos Theatre Festival 2016 according to a statement released by the British Council Nigeria on Thursday, November 19.

The Lagos Theatre Festival, which will be happening at different locations on the Lagos Island as well as the Mainland has a curated programme rubbing alongside a fringe line of affiliated performances giving room for an increased number of artists and audiences to participate like never before.

The festival would depict the experiences of young people living in Lagos today as represented by several emerging playwrights who accented to the call for submission of scripts.

The Lagos Theatre Festival is committed to promoting and advancing art in the country.

Ojoma Ochai, Director Arts, British Council  Nigeria, 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.”

The newly appointed artistic director has more than a few feathers to his cap in terms of achievements and involvement in arts.

According to the released statement: “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.”

Kenneth Uphopho, Director Lagos Theatre Festival, 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.”

UK/Nigeria 2015–16 is a major season of arts in Nigeria aimed at building new audiences, creating new collaborations and strengthening relationships between the UK and Nigeria.

Programmed in association with a host of partners, it features more than 30 projects and more than 80 events in art, fashion, design, theatre, dance, music, literature and film throughout Nigeria and includes showcases of Nigerian arts and creative industries in the UK. UK/Nigeria 2015–16 has a focus on creating access to art, new digital work, innovation, art in public spaces and working with young people.

Partnerships between Nigerian and British artists, institutions and organisations will be at the heart of the season which aims to develop skills and capacity across the creative industries. The programme will run until April 2016 creating new connections in arts, education, innovation, trade and investment.

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