Published On: Thu, Jul 30th, 2015

Why we are taking theatre to schools-Peters


Bolanle Austen Peters is the director of Terra Kulture. She spoke with Adeola Ogunrinde on why the Arts needs to be promoted in Nigeria


What do you think about the Nigerian theatre?

Theatre has become increasing popular. A couple of years back we had very little theatre in Nigeria, it has more or less fizzled out. Over the last seven years a couple of other institutions have been fundamental in the growth and the insurgence of theatre.

Has it been able to measure up to Nollywood?

No, while growing up forty years ago theatre was the number one. But things went down, Nollywood came up. The beauty of it is that theatre is back. There are Nollywood actors who are coming on stage and we are hoping that things will get bigger and better.

What has been your challenge promoting theatre over the years?

I think most difficult aspect of theatre is the fact that infrastructure is needed , unlike movie where you need your camera’s little or no space. In theatre you need proper infrastructure , buildings ; you need stage, you need lighting set . All the things you need are not things that are cheap in Nigeria. We have little or nothing of those and that is what we at Terra Kulture have been able to do. We have been able to provide a space so that people can use them for theatre.

Promoting culture is very expensive in Nigeria. Which other organisations have promoted theatre over the years?

I think if you look at Ford foundation we are partnering with now, the intention is to take theatre to public space.They have also supported us in the past. Organisations like GTB have also supported us in the past. Access Bank has also supported theatre . There are so many institutions. When we started Saro The Musical , we had  African Magic , we had hotels, so many people came on board because of the logistics required to be together. A show of that magnitude is amazing. MTN has also been in the forefront of promoting theatre.

Why are you taking theatre to the public space?

We are taking theatre to the public space because we feel right now , it is very elitist , it is in Victoria Island. Much isn’t happening in the mainland regarding theatre. We are patterning with Ford Foundation to take theatre to schools , where we have a conglomeration of about six to seven schools . We will also be taking theatre to Ajegunle .We will take a play there and ask children to come watch it. The idea is to encourage children to love theatre by taking theatre to the grassroot .

Are there schools that you have penned down for this project?

We are going to decide which schools we’re going to go to but the decision is based on the number of schools we can find in the locality . The more the schools, the better for us. Instead of doing one-stage play for a 100 students , we will be doing one play for a thousand student .That is the plan.

What do you think the government should do to promote Arts?

I think all the government needs to do is to create infrastructure like the National Arts Theatre that is working well, create more theatre spaces . I also think the private sector is more important to help in creating this.

What do you think must be put in place for artists to reap from what they are doing especially the old ones?

In the past most of the actors were not making a headway financially but I think things are beginning to change. I think it is the combination of corporate society Arts. The cooperate world is increasingly giving endorsement, so endorsement drives finances for artists . Then the issue of piracy should be stopped. This will also help for artists to reap the reward of their hard work..


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