Lagos Fringe, an open access multidisciplinary arts festival based in Lagos Nigeria is hosted by one of the largest arts gathering in South Africa, Vrystaat Arts Festival. The festival held at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein Campus. The exchange programme was a continuation of an existing partnership for the development of the Arts in Africa and the empowerment of African Artistes facilitated by the Pan African Creative Exchange PACE.
Three plays from Lagos Fringe was programmed for The 7 day’s long festival which was held in South Africa. The event kicked off on Monday 1st of July till 7th July 2019. The plays which resonate with the special focus on Women in the Arts as convened by Brenda Fashugba who is also the Lagos Fringe festival producer include; ESTHER’S REVENGE, an experiential play inspired by true events set in the 50’s in Nigeria. The play explores themes around Prejudice, Colonialism, Abuse, Political and Social Injustice. The play begins just a few hours to the set time for the execution of “Esther” (played by Omobolanle Atitebi) who had murdered her White lover Mark. Audience members have been summoned as jurors to hear her case one final time.
The second play is HOME; a coming of age plays where Genoveva Umeh shares a funny and honest realization of the pressures of being a young Nigerian in the diaspora. She shares her challenges, fears and mistakes while living in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
The third play is titled BRIDEZILLA an emotional rollercoaster where Funke; the protagonist navigates memories in the lead up to her wedding day. We see, through her eyes, the intricacies and expectations of the African bride. These plays all have very strong female characters..
This exchange is coming on the heels of the Lagos Fringe 2018 experience where Vrystaat facilitated the connection for Opening Act from South Africa to present their work at the fringe including visits by Emma Porteus from the Salamanca Arts Centre and the Vrystaat Vrynge Festival Director Michael Garbett.
Festival Director for Lagos Fringe, Kenneth Uphopho says “We are truly excited at the opportunities presented here for artistes in Lagos and Africa to start to connect on a whole different level. Vrystaat Arts and PACE have really shown to be committed to establishing that legacy across Africa and we are really happy that Lagos Fringe is a partner to the cause. Special Thanks to Ricardo Peach, Nike Jonah, Erwin Maas and all the partners who have made this connection possible. We can’t wait to be in South Africa”.