BRITAIN’S deputy high commissioner to Abuja Ben Llewellyn-Jones has restated the country’s commitment to Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and creative industries pledging that London will continue to support them.
Speaking at a private performance by the Lagos Theatre Festival organised by the Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA) in conjunction with the Lagos Theatre Festival, Mr Llewellyn-Jones said he believed in further enhancing the Nigerian-British relationship. He added that he was particularly happy about the partnership between the Nigeria-Britain Association and the Lagos Theatre Festival.
Mr Llewellyn-Jones said:“It’s good to see that the work British Council started by establishing the Lagos Theatre Festival and handed over to the independent board, has made commendable progress. Nigeria has a large economy across Africa and is home to rich cultural heritage and offers great opportunities in the areas of dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts.
“The Nigerian cultural and creative industry has grown over the years and stood the test of time. This is evident in its contribution to the Nigerian economy through its increased job creation and export earnings.
“The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation estimates that the movie industry generates between $500m and $800m annually, and accounts for about 2% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product. However, there is still a lot to be done, as there are specific challenges faced by the industry.
“Unfortunately, over the past year, the pandemic has also had its negative effects on the industry as stage plays and live concerts were put on hold. Regardless, even in these challenging times, we have seen a shift in the music industry as two Nigerian artistes Burna Boy and Wizkid won the Grammy Awards this year, hence there is no doubt that other sectors in the creative industry will excel more with the right levels of exposure and partnerships.
Shola Tinubu the president of the Nigeria-Britain Association (N-BA), added: “The N-BA was incorporated as a non-profit trust, with the primary objective to develop relationships between individuals and organisations in Nigeria, Britain and the Commonwealth resident in Nigeria through the exchange of culture and encouragement of sponsorship for the common good. This evening, we proudly present a drama presentation by the Lagos Theatre Festival, the largest performing arts festival in West Africa, which grew from the need to promote theatre in a unique way.
“Practitioners, including producers and content makers are encouraged to create art works that can adapt to unconventional spaces beyond mere traditional theatre stage spaces. The festival was founded by the British Council in 2013 and sought to strengthen relationships between Britain and Nigeria through theatre.
“It has continued to grow and is now being managed by a board of directors comprising actors, arts entrepreneurs, producers/directors and arts enthusiasts. The N-BA is proud to be involved with the 2021 edition of the Festival, tagged Reckless Art as it presents an opportunity for creators to be innovative in driving creativity and performances without any limits.”