By Larry Williams
Who will be the guests in ‘five star hotel’ built in the National Theatre Complex ? .My guess is as good as yours. Businessmen, tourist, politicians. Let’s stop there, suppose all these people want to unwind before they turn in after the day’s work out?. What do they turn to before they turn in?
Nothing, nothing whatsoever. Nothing, because the stage has been buried as a thing of the past.The 5000 seater Main Bowl of the National Theater has been unused for two decades! That would have been of interest to the private producers. The other 600 seater theatre auditoria are unrealistic and make no sense and holds no hope for the producer to invest N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira), for six hundred seater auditorium to entertain the masses.What do you charge as gate fee to recover that amount per night?. So no private proucer would touch the National Theatre for business.e
So with no business, the management made sure the coast is clear for hotel business and the clientele is mobile and ready. Are we promoting culture or destroying the Arts? Without the Arts, Tourism is a ‘desert walk’. There is so much that could be done to keep the arts alive and vibrant and swell the economy of this nation as it has done for America, Japan, India, Italy, where the arts provide so much and attracts a lot.
I suggested in my open letter to president Goodluck Jonathan while thanking him for his interest, support and generosity to the Arts sector, that the money should go towards the building of a National Hall of Fame. This singular move will provide work for thousands of Artists, e.g Sculptors, Painters, Architects,Interior Decorators,Fine and Graphic Artists, Movie Makers ,Actors, Dancers,Musicians on regular basis for at least five years.
Opportunity for restructuring of the industry as it concerns the practitioners. The Stage which is the Cradle of Entertainment and performing Art will get a chance to embrace the sophistication of Theatre Traditions as the American’s Commercial stage has done with Broadway,and off Broadway, and off Broadway that gross billions of dollars from ticket sales and bookings daily. Regular shows from several theatres feed the screen with seasoned actors producing stunning, profound and therapeutic shows.
The screen, Big and Small are kept busy with artists protected by the powerful ‘’Equity’’. The Actors Union of Europe and America. It is a pity that Nigeria has not been interested enough in the Arts to organize and harness the recources.Nigeria loses trillions of Naira every year by not exporting our culture around the world.
That could be done if the Culture Minister could liaise with our Ambassadors all over the countries they serve, performing Artists could also be invited round other parts.Sculptors and musician’s tours linked with other embassies in other part of the world.What better way to introduce the country to the world?.And perhaps a better and honourable way to make the extra from travels and allowances rather than planning contracts for hotels and adulterating culture.
There are several other ways to improve the arts sophistication ready for the commercial demands of today’s world art market. The world needs the artist more so for therapeutic reasons as well as information about her people and style. The country Nigeria herself needs the artists to continue the nation building, information and entertainment which I describe as Edutainment.