The National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) has commended Lagos Fringe Festival (LFF) for providing platform for young creatives in the past five years.
Makinde Adeniran, NANTAP Secretary, said this at the the opening of the fifth LFF at the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos.
The Lagos Fringe is a compendium of arts where young talents are given a platform for showcasing and development.
Adeniran said that platform such as the LFF help to bring new entrants into the industry.
“Platform like this brings new entrants into the industry because Lagos Fringe is one of the few places where young people can express their arts.
“It is one of the big ones for us. We have so many, but gradually Lagos Fringe is standing out. Five years of consistency for us at the NANTAP.
“We value what Fringe is doing. In spite of our different challenges, we have to show up here to honour what Fringe is doing this evening, and particularly to stay in partnership.
“We thank you for what you are doing. We appreciate you. Call on us whenever you need our support. Platform like yours LFF are the ones giving credibility to us at NANTAP,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director of the LFF, Kenneth Uphopho, commended stakeholders for their support in the past five years of the festival.
“We are five years, five years of creative opportunities, showcasing exhibitions, capacity building, engagements, networking and making of super stars.
Uphopho said that the Lagos Theatre Festival is a platform for young talents to exhibit their talents at least once a year.
He lauded the LFF partners and stakeholders for their support and encouragement over the years.
The LFF Board member and actress, Ego Boyo, also expressed her gratitude to the audience.
She said: “It has been five years of creative opportunities of developing artistes, fostering collaborations and exhibitions.
“This is exactly what it is at Lagos Fringe. It is for wonderful opportunities. Lagos Fringe is affiliated with other Fringes the world over.
“I want to thank all our supporters, exhibitors, volunteers, and everyone that has been part of Lagos Fringe and welcome to this inter-disciplinary festival which happens annually.”
A lawyer and writer Aduke Gomez, said that the LFF has been bridging the gap in the creative industry.
“It means that it is getting to a wider audience. I can only wish them all the best. I should congratulate them for seeing the need, for seeing a gap and bridging it,” she said.
Also speaking, Brenda Uphopho, Co-founder of the Lagos Fringe, said the initiative launched in 2018 as an open-caves multidisciplinary arts festival has continued to grow strongly and attract participation.
“It has been five years, and it’s very emotional. Investing in Lagos Fringe five years ago was the most insane thing we have ever done.
“Investing everything we had in the festival and we were down to the shirts, not even money for Christmas, not even for the children.
“Like everything that will be great and everything that will be wonderful and everything that will be fantastic and massive and beautiful, we are five years old.
“We had it very tough the first time. We owe it all to the team. We didn’t have anything left to pay the team. They mostly went without being paid.
“They have been awesome. I cannot thank them enough. The volunteers just believed in the dream and ran with it for five years,” she said.
She, however, announced that she has taken leave of absence from the Lagos Fringe Festival have joined the British Council of Nigeria.
“I am not going to be actively working, actively producing for Fringe. I have joined the British Council Nigeria for now.
I am the Head of the Arts for Nigeria and Lead for Creative Economy for sub-Saharan Africa. I have always wanted to be on the biggest scale on the biggest platform.
“I believe that God has called me to do this. So when I saw an opportunity to advance the gospel of theatre, to advance the gospel of the creative economy, I took it only because we have such a capable board.
“Don’t forget that this platform is for development; it is for young people to have the opportunity to be able to do their work. So it’s not the glossiest theatre pieces.
“Not the most famous, not the most well attended. it is being put together in a manner that you will enjoy.
“Even though I am taking a leave of absence, the standard, the quality and all things you know about the festival will still be there for you to enjoy,” she said.
The fifth Lagos Fringe Festival themed ‘New Narratives,’ will end on Nov. 27.