The Abuja Festival of Theatre has been established to make one of Africa’s fastest-growing cities into her biggest hub for culture and theatre appreciation. Simply put, AFT is very big on people. Furthermore, the festival seeks to help build up the local arts scene, boost tourism and the local economy, to deepen community relations in the capital and help improve Nigeria’s global image through theatre arts. Our audience development drive has had an impact in the awareness and new interest that we are now recording from Abuja and her visitors.
In AFT, we wish to accelerate the growth of the sector in the city, by rallying this growing community and the collaborations which are already producing results. Our strategy for doing this involves giving Abuja residents and visitors a new thrilling experience, missing from the social life of the people. AFT will thrive on social integration and fun community interaction as ways of accomplishing this.
AT the heart of the Festival is an overwhelming desire to unite people and grow relationships by:
- Creating an immersive experience of theatre, amplifying the encounters for audiences beyond sight and sound.
- Producing a festive air that encourages learning through human interaction and play
- Achieving more global expressions and ‘languages for the art’ for the appreciation of black culture, art and history.
- Offering compelling platforms for the preservation of African culture, while fostering its evolution
- Forming the base for a new hub of international culture exchange and and collaboration
- stimulating fresh, relevant and representative works of art in Africa
- Giving the world new destinations for culture and art
- Sparking a fringe theatre culture in Africa
- Collecting and analysing audience development and interaction data
Abuja Festival of Theatre is the capital city’s first independent theatre-led festival and the only one evolving out of a culture of year-round seasons of performances with an existing audience base. With hardly any state funding, local grants, government subventions or arts subsidies to take advantage of, it is even more critical to observe an organic, sustainable model for the arts in Nigeria and the promoters of AFT have been doing this for over 10 years.
AFT is a collaboration with institutional actors and private sector players in areas of theatre arts, including but not limited to dance, music, poetry, design, fashion, crafts and literature. It has multisector appendages covering tourism, education, policy and international relations. The 2019 edition is inaugural and will focus on the elements of African theatre practice which heighten reality and add wonder to audience experiences. Themed ‘Magic in African Theatre:capturing awe in storytelling’, this maiden edition will involve theatres in Nigeria and the sub-region as well as Diaspora participation in distilling the transfer of black theatre into modern forms of creative endeavor around the world. There will also be panel discussions, exhibitions and children’s theatre.
- Opening ceremony
- Theatre performances
- Workshops/master classes
- THA Slam (universities contest)
- Panel discussions
- Spoken word/poetry
- Raffle draw
- Awards ceremony
- Children’s theatre
- Fringe/experimental theatre
- Arts & crafts market
- Closing gala
THE AUDIENCE AND PARTNERSHIPS
2 Masks & a Griot Theatre has continued to identify and cultivate relationships and potential markets that can be called upon to patronise live arts events, including some large and growing markets within and around the Abuja metropolis, such as educational institutions, diplomatic community and corporates.
The 2MG audience profile has been a mix of demographics dominated by a youth and middle-age population of professionals and business people with a desire to share connections with friends and family, while enjoying high drama, comedy, wit and vibrant performances. The amount of repeat business and referrals successfully converted, have led 2MG to not only introduce a season ticket backed by a membership programme but also to invest in greater capacity and explore new collaborations to respond better to market needs.
Our stakeholders include the Meditteranean Club, Asokoro, a members-only recreation facility in high-brow Asokoro, who have partnered with us to bring this new experience to Abujans and visitors to the capital city. We also have relationships with a number of media houses with whom we have partnered for audience engagement and awareness.
Christopher Kings & Associates are our business, process development and evaluation partners, who have worked with over 300 businesses to strengthen capacity and deliver on brand promises. We also work closely with Envio Tracked Taxi Services to improve the the all-round experience of Theatre goers and visitors who seek exciting and elightening entertainment forms for themselves and their families.
AFT is backed by respected industry professionals who run two advertised theatre seasons in Abuja every calendaar year, as 2 masks & aGriot Theatre Company(2MG). Their 2019 programme of plays has 10 in_house productions of mostly new Nigerian works and the schedule has commenced with more than 100 performances planned for the year.
Theatre and Development Communications Expert
Professor of African Art and Architecture
AFT is privileged to be hosting a growing list of some of Africa’s finest theatre arts professionals with theatre arts professionals with teaching and performance experience as well as high audience visibility and fan base.
Among those are Ajoke Sylva and Tosan Edremoda-Ugbeye