Faces of Africa – Renaissance of Theatre in Nigeria Pt. 2

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Bolanle Austin Peters is arguably one of the best theater directors in Nigeria. The self-taught theatre director has grown to become one of the leading forces in theatre production in Nigeria.  She has revolutionized theatre in her country by incorporating modern theatre technological advancements that give her productions an international look and feel.

Bolanle Austin Peters, a director who is changing the Theatre scene in Nigeria

Bolanle is working on a production entitled Moremi the Musical, This musical show has brought together a constellation of Nigerian musicians, lighting and set designers and an array of popular Nigerian actors.

 

Moremi the Musical has incorporated a lot of creatives in its production

Moremi the musical transports the audience to a 12th Century and encourages them to walk with heroines in a story of love, sacrifice and liberation. The musical is a play based on a true story of a heroine from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria called Moremi Ajashoro. For years, her community was attacked, pillaged and enslaved by the hostile Igbo people. Moremi decides to consult an Oracle for a solution, and the Oracle agrees to help her find a way to defeat the invading tribe. Moremi becomes a slave and later marries the rival tribe’s king. Once she learns the secret of their strengths and weakness, she returns to her people, and leads them to a victorious war using a bushel of fire. Sadly, Moremi is forced to sacrifice her only son by drowning him in the river so as to pay homage to the Oracle. By doing so, the Yoruba are liberated and Moremi would become a legend in her community.

A depicted image of Queen Moremi Ajashoro in the 12th century

Bolanle has discovered that music alone is not sufficient to have a successful musical. Visuals, lighting and set design play a critical role in packaging the show.  She has integrated technology into her productions to help modernize how theatre productions are produced in her native Nigeria. Among the technology she has incorporated in her plays is 3D mapping, this is a type of technology where virtual images are projected to appear like real life images onto a screen or a surface. This type of technology is very popular with modern   day computer generated imaging films; this technology when incorporated in theatre redefines the traditional theater stage.

Modern day technology gives Moremi the Musical an edge over other Musicals.

Bolanle Austin Peters set up Terra Kulture in 2003, an organization that would help her in the journey towards creating a brand that would be appreciated by many theatre lovers. Terra Kulture has a theatre auditorium for staging plays, a restaurant, an art gallery and a bookshop. These other arms of Terra Kulture, bring in extra revenue and also help to promote upcoming artists, writers and arts in general.

Moremi the Musical opens to an eager public and by the end of the twelve days that the musical is staged over 10,000 people have watched the show. Unfortunately, almost an equal number of people did not get the chance to watch because the tickets sold out.

Bolanle Austin Peters is only getting started, judging by the success of Moremi and her other productions; she hopes to share with the world her productions and at the same time inspire other African creatives to up their game and to tell the African story differently.

 

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