The president of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA) Alex Asigbo and CEO of creative firm Plume and Partner Samuel Bob-Manuel have signed a production deal valued at N1bn aimed at boosting the creative industries in Nigeria.
Aimed at bridging the gap between the stage and the screen, as well as between theory and practicals, the deal will involve more than 45 universities and 20 colleges of education in Nigeria offering courses in theatre arts in a project that revolves around the production of movies and documentaries, tagged Project Hostage.
Theatre arts departments across the country will be involved in the production of 35,000 hours of audio-visual programmes, which span 90 epic and contemporary movies of about 120 minutes, 45 minutes advocacy documentaries on any issue of interest and 45 campus series of 20 minutes.
Bob-Manuel said his company was motivated by the need for quality content in the country’s movie industry and said that production would not fall short of the required standard in both artistic and technical contents.
“Theatre arts departments are expected to develop scripts for entries in the different categories while Nollywood actors shall be included in lead roles in order to give the movies commercial value,” he said.
“Project Hostage will have a strong academy of judges made up of one nominee each from member universities of SONTA and five nominees from Plume and Partner to rate performances in various categories of awards, which include best picture and best actor of each season.”
He added that 88 professors, 122 PhD holders and over 10,000 theatre arts undergraduates would participate in the auditions to be conducted in various set roles as they would be featuring in the script developed by respective universities.
“We are not discarding those already in the field because they brought the industry this far. So, to give the production commercial value, actors should be part of the production. It is also a very big opportunity for streaming companies, who should go into Nigerian market with the production that we are into partnership with SONTA. It is the biggest production deal in Nigeria, having SONTA side by side,” he said.
“We are bringing in a lot of intellectual and creative expertise to make this a success. It will generate job opportunities for artistic and technical crew as well as the undergraduate students not less than 10,000 across various universities who would be vying for various roles in the course of the production. We thank SONTA for giving us the opportunity of working with them.”
According to Asigbo, involving academia in movie content would boost the industry with quality content that will take care of several unprofessional movie products in the market.
He said that an academy of judges would be drawn from lecturers in every theatre arts department for screening and selection of the best scripts from both regional and national levels, while theatre arts graduates who are already professionals and whose appearances would enhance the production would be brought in to feature alongside the younger generations of artists.