Joke Silva Advocates for Utilization of Lagos Theatres to Empower Youth and Impact Society

Renowned Nigerian actress, Joke Silva, has called upon the Lagos State Government to leverage the state’s theatres to effect positive change in society and meaningfully engage the youth. Speaking at a conference organized by the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) to commemorate World Theatre Day in Lagos, Silva emphasized the need for the state’s theatrical infrastructure to be put to effective use.

The theme of the conference, “Unbundling Nigeria’s Creative Economy for a Sustainable Future,” underscores the significance of leveraging creative industries for national development. Silva expressed concern over the neglect of theatres across the five divisions of Lagos State, labeling it as a disheartening trend.

Highlighting the importance of robust structures for the creative industry’s growth, Silva emphasized the necessity of physical and intellectual frameworks to support artistic endeavors. She lamented the underutilization of existing theatres, attributing it to misconceptions about profitability. Silva stressed the societal benefits of cultural spaces like theatres and Freedom Park, urging government support through grants for their sustenance.

Furthermore, Silva advocated for the renovation and revitalization of cultural centers across Nigeria rather than the creation of new ones. She cited the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture in Abuja as an example of a facility in need of refurbishment. Additionally, she underscored the significance of quality training in the creative sector to elevate standards to global benchmarks.

Renowned filmmaker Femi Odugbemi echoed Silva’s sentiments on the importance of data gathering for informed decision-making in the creative industry. He emphasized the need to employ appropriate technology for accurate data collection to dispel guesswork and facilitate strategic planning.

Dr. Ikenna Nwosu, Vice President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the necessity of a national policy on the creative economy to guide investments and mitigate risks. He also underscored the importance of addressing intellectual property issues and advocating for legislation to support the growth of the creative sector.

In conclusion, the conference aimed to enlighten theatre practitioners on the multifaceted nature of the creative industry and encourage them to embrace entrepreneurship and collaboration. Ngozi Obigwe-Kunuji, Head of Operations at the Africa Philanthropy Forum, provided insights on accessing funding for filmmaking, citing various organizations as potential sources of support.

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