Ifatimehin, Onwuka, Desouky to manage festival
ABUJA’s cultural landscape will come alive from October 31 through November 5, 2023, when Arojah Royal Theatre stages the maiden Abuja International Theatre Festival and Awards (ABITFA) in Nigeria’s beautiful Federal Capital City of Abuja. According to the Founder of Arojah Royal Theatre and Director of ABITFA, Om’Oba Jerry Adesewo, the festival will bring the theatre world to Abuja, Nigeria, along with the best of innovative theatrical expressions: full-length plays, short feature plays, poetry theatre, musicals, storytelling, puppetry, solo performances, dance and physical theatre, and other relevant dramatic presentations. The festival has as theme ‘Performing Arts: Peace Building and the Society.’
For the international audience, festival programmers, festival producers, and others intending to join, ABITFA will feature some of the best Nigerian performances carefully selected under ‘Nigerian Showcase’ segment, Adesewo further explained. ABITFA has something for everybody. It will feature performances for every age segment, from children, teenagers, youth and adult through panel discussions, workshops, masterclasses, meet and greet sessions, city tours, and other exciting activities for Nigerian participants and international guests.
While explaining the theme ‘Performing Arts: Peace Building and the Society’, Festival Founder and Director, Adesewo said, “With the world currently in crises, going by the unrest between Ukraine and Russia, Israel and Palestine, Sudan and South Sudan, as well as internal crises in Belarus, Mali, Ethiopia and Sudan, among others like the ever-increasing challenges of climate change, poverty, migration and human right issues, the performing arts can be used to promote peace building and community engagement. By breaking down the barriers that divide us, the arts can help us connect and become more understanding of one another. And this in turn leads to more peaceful and cooperative societies.
Festival Lead Int’l Jury, Mazen Desouky
“The performing arts is a field of activities that helps develop communication, teamwork, and collaboration skills. And theatre is one of its most veritable tools. ABITFA 2023 thereby invites applications from interested theatre outfits and individuals from across the world that speak to the above theme. https://tinyurl.com/ABITFAproductions. International delegates, festival programmers, festival producers/directors, journalists, theatre critics, cultural administrators, and others, should use this link to read more and apply to be part of our festival: https://tinyurl.com/ABITFAdelegates. The deadline for application is June 30, 2023.”
Meanwhile, festival organiser, Arojah Royal Theatre, has made some important appointments for the smooth management of Abuja International Theatre Festival and Awards 2023. Ola Ifatimehin (PhD) will serve as Artistic Director for the festival. Ifatimehin teaches Theatre and Performance Studies at the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Bayero University, Kano. He’s an academic scion of the Ahmadu Bello University School of Drama, Zaria, where he obtained all his degrees. He is passionate about playwriting, play production and criticism. His research interests include play, film and production analysis and criticism, acting and directing, Theatre for Development and Adaptation and Cultural Studies. He is also interested in topics around Research Methodology in inter-mediality and intercultural encounters.
Ifatimehin is a budding scholar, theatre director, actor and cultural administrator, with a considerable number of publications in both local and international journals, books and critical anthologies. He’s currently the editor of SARARI: Bayero Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts, which just made its debut in 2020. He has presented papers in various conferences both in Nigeria and abroad.
Festival Artistic Director, Esther Onwuka
Esther Ojogbane Onwuka (FTA) will serve as Co-Artistic Director. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Abuja and is currently pursuing her PhD in Theatre Arts with a specialization in dance and choreography. She started her early career with Ebony Theatre Troupe in Makurdi, Benue State, and as a result of her outstanding and excellent performance she was given admission by the Department of Theatre Arts, Benue State University where she obtained a Diploma in Theatre Arts in 1996. Her professional career started in earnest in 1996 when she joined the Abuja Council for Arts and Culture as a dance artist. In that capacity, she represented Nigeria nationally and internationally and won laurels which brought glory to her fatherland. This she did until 2013 when she joined the University of Abuja as a lecturer. Onwuka is currently the Vice President of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP).
Also, Mazen Mossad Ibrahim Desouky (better known in theatre circles as Mazen El Gharabawy) will serve as Lead, International Jury for ABITFA 2023. He is a professional Egyptian actor and director. He began his artistic life when he was 15 years old, and is considered the first founder of the acting team of the Faculty of Arts at Ain Shams University and the maker of a new generation in theatrical artistic life since 2000. He is also the founder of Sharm El-Sheikh International Festival. The Youth Theater is the first international festival dedicated to youths in Egypt, specifically at the Sinai. Desouky will lead a 5-man international jury, drawn from Europe, Asia and Africa to the maiden Abuja International Theatre Festival 2023.