Members of the FCT branch of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, NANTAP, have attributed the decline in the industry to insecurity and the lack of funding, just as they lament that the dearth of practicing theatre artistes is responsible for the decline theatre performances.
According to Mr Jerry Adesewo, NANTAP Secretary, Abuja chapter, over the past three decades, stage performances had suffered neglect resulting from the lack of support and funding.
He said that the association had engaged in a series of sensitisation programmes, including policy, theatre and cultural reforms in order to reposition the industry.
Adesewo said that little or no funding was being given to Nigerian theatre generally, making operation of the industry rather difficult.
He observed that the decline in the number of theatres across the country was not encouraging enough to attract private theatre operators to participate effectively and satisfactorily.
“The National Theatre which has been the country’s most significant theatre, of course, cannot serve the entire country; neither can the Centre for Arts and Culture, Abuja alone. For theatrical performances in the country to develop to compete favourably with their international counterparts, other means must be provided.
“There must be heavy investment in theatre venues; props and sets to host performances, and artistes must be encouraged to remain within and practice the profession.’’
Adesewo further said that the fear of insecurity was also not helping the industry. “Though before now, patronage of theatres had been on the decline; the current insurgency and its attendant insecurity has worsened the situation,” he said.
Also commenting, Mr Mike Ekunno, a NANTAP member, said that theatre practitioners had a lot of work to do to revive, develop and sustain the industry not only in the FCT but also across the country.
Ekunno urged actors and actresses to participate actively in the movie industry as a way of marrying both theatre performance and movies.
He said they could use the opportunity of their roles in Nollywood movies to popularise and solicit support and funding for the theatre and theatrical performances in the country as a whole.

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