About four years after star couple Olu and Joke Jacobs staged a series of plays in London, during the 2012 Olympics, they are currently luring people back to the theatre.
This they are doing with Heartbeat the Musical, a play written by Tosin Otudeko and Debo Oluwatuminu, and directed by Najite Dede.
Described as a tale of hope, Heartbeat the Musical features original compositions written by Otudeko and produced by Efosa Lawal.
As the producers showed recently when they premiered it at the MUSON Centre in Lagos, the performance does more than entertainment as it introduces new actors and actresses, featuring alongside stars that include Femi Jacobs.
It parades not less than 33 cast and 10 crew members.
Interestingly, the producers enjoy the support of the Bank of Industry, which had also supported them in 2012 when they staged the likes of Wole Soyinka’s Lion and the Jewel and Sefi Atta’s The Naming Ceremony in London.
The banks’ Director of Large Enterprises, Mr. Babatunde Joseph, said apart from the fact that all hands must be on deck to move the creative industry forward in Nigeria, Heartbeat the Musical was worth his while.
He said, “It’s a very splendid evening and we are glad to be a part of this theatrical show, particularly when you look at the environment – a little bit of pressure, a little bit of tension. There is indeed the need to relax after the hard day’s job. There must be a good mix of work and play.
He also explained why BoI was at the forefront of support for the creative industry, urging other investors to do the same.
He said, “I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for investment in the creative industry. You can see with what has happed tonight, especially talking about the turn out even though this is a weekday. The creative industry is the place to put one’s money and we expect that the return will be worth it at the end of the day. You will be surprised that it is even during recession that people tend to embrace the creative activities even more because we really need to find a way to relax; we need to find a way to network and also an avenue where we can meet different people, including people we haven’t met in a long time.
“For me, I believe that investing in the creative industry will be a very good way of putting one’s money. And of course it also helps in reducing the state of unemployment. You can imagine how many of them participated in this programme today. At least they would have been empowered, and this is the kind of empowerment that we believe the creative industry should create so that people can have some money in their pocket.”
Other officials of the bank at the show included Head of Creative Desk, Mrs. Uche Nwuka; and Mrs Hadiza Olaosebikan, who is the Head of Communications.
A series of 28 shows spread across 19 days, the theatrical piece is anchored on the fictional Grace House, a well-known shelter for the homeless, where the play explores the themes of love, hate, betrayal, family, identity, politics, homelessness and social justice through music and dance .
“Depicting the everyday life and political terrain in Nigeria, ‘Heartbeat’ makes an effective portrayal of happenstances in the society with such theatrical presentation that had the audience glued to their seats for more than one hour, cheering the cast for great acting and elevated musical dialogues as the characters converge in and around Grace House in search of refuge and atonement,” a reviewer said.
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