By Godwin Okondo
PAWSTUDIOS, organisers of Lagos Fringe Festival, is preparing for the 6th edition of its festival designed to unveil a dynamic exploration artistic activities. It has as theme ‘What Future For Creatives?: The African Experience.’ The festival opens on Tuesday, November 21 and ends November 26, 2023. Venue as usual is Freedom Park, 1 Broad Street, Lagos, Eko Hotel, Geothe-Institut, Alliance Francaise and British Council. The week-long event extravaganza has engaging line up of workshops, joint performances, film and media events and exhibitions. It will boast of international participation of creatives from South Africa, the UK, US, Senegal and Zimbabwe.
The festival aims at repurposing spaces for the development of artistic expressions to new audiences. Nigeria is poised to lead the creative economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Lagos Fringe seeks to actively contribute to this trajectory. Led by Festival Director, Mr. Kenneth Uphopho, Lagos Fringe Festival will collaborate with esteemed organizations such as Dance Guild of Nigeria, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Guild of Theatre Directors, World Fringe Network, Brighton Fringe UK, The Kreative Lab, Freedom Park, Pawstudios Africa, and the Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE) of South Africa. Additional partnerships are anticipated as the festival progresses.
Co-founder of Lagos Fringe Festival, Brenda Uphopho (middle) now on Sabbatical with some volunteers
The theme for Lagos Fringe Festival is consciously modelled with a view to finding new ways to support creatives in the country and Africa. According to the organisers, “Lagos Fringe is invested to be at the forefront of the creative economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. We want to continue to engage in the process of building an economy where the people rely on their creative ideas and how to make money out of it. Research and data are technical, just as performance and design are free-flowing. At the Lagos Fringe, we want to bridge these worlds to encourage creatives on co-creations and partnerships for a more sustainable future, particularly with the emergence of the creative industries, which is now shaping up to be a lucrative venture – both for the creatives and for their craft.”
The week-long line up of events touch on all aspects of artistic expressions. Day 1, for instance, is on ‘Literary Extravaganza’. The festival commences with a celebration of diversity as a unifying factor for participants and partners, who will combine in the celebration of the diversity of peoples who have come from across the globe to make Lagos home. Awards will also be presented. ‘Arts and Craft’ forms Day 2, with workshops and training conducted by distinguished artists. Afterwards an Arts & Craft market exhibition will open to the general public for 5 days. ‘Empowering Women in Creativity’ forms Day 3 of Lagos Fringe and will highlight positive outcomes for women in the creative industry. All activities will be curated and produced featuring women and will be directed by women.
Day 4 will feature ‘Harmony in Music’, and consists of workshops and music training sessions will precede ‘The Alternative Vibrations Concert,’ an evening of fun, colour and life and will feature headline artists. The festival hub anticipates over 1,000 attendees. Day 5 is devoted to ‘Cinematic Exploration’. Film Day will host ‘Nollywood Yesterday Conversations,’ featuring panel discussions, networking workshops, and film screenings. A 6-day training programme will offer expertise in filmmaking, advertising, creative writing, storytelling, and mobile phone cinematography.
Lagos Fringe Festival Director, Kenneth Uphopho
Day 6 is ‘Fringe City Extravaganza’, where Fringe invites families to a day of fun that showcases over 50 exhibitors and partners. The event spans theatre, food, dance, film, photography, fashion, arts, crafts, music, literature, games, and comics. Other highlights of the festival include the inaugural Lagos Fringe Young Critics and Reviewers Programme, 20 live theatre, dance and spoken word performances, 40 film screenings and the Lagos Fringe variety weekend. This is in addition to networking sessions such as ‘Women in the Arts Lunch’, masterclasses and workshops.
The festival’s target audience encompasses high net worth individuals, young urban professionals, artists, corporate bodies, art institutions, arts lovers and enthusiasts, students and children. As Lagos Fringe Festival unfolds, it aims to bridge the technical and free-flowing aspects of creativity that fosters co-creations and partnerships for a sustainable future in Nigeria’s rapidly growing creative economy.