altThe 7th Jos Festival of Theatre, hosted by the Jos Repertory Theatre, is due to open in the city of Jos, from Saturday, February 23rd – Friday, March 1st, 2013, with the theme, “Challenge Perceptions,” which was informed by the series of conflicts that have occurred in the city in recent times, believing that the theatre will provide a platform for discussing some of the issues that have plagued the city.

According to a press release by Patrick-Jude Oteh, two American plays are featuring in the festival, as part of the annual African-American History Month celebrations, and that a total of five plays have been scheduled for the one week festival, as follows:

·Saturday, February 23rd – Opening of the Festival and Performance of the revival of Wale Ogunyemi’s Queen Amina of Zazzau, which just completed a successful tour and run in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
  Sunday, February 24th – Performance of August Wilson’s Jitney.
 Monday, February 25th – Performance of Vaclav Havel’s Audience, in Collaboration with The Embassy of Czech Republic.
Tuesday, February 26th – Performance of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Wednesday, February 27th – Repeat Performance of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
Thursday, February 28th – Performance of Femi Osofisan’s Midnight Hotel.
Friday, March 1st – Closing Ceremonies featuring Modern Dances and Final Performance of Femi Osofisan’s Midnight Hotel.alt

Oteh stated that the festival will feature workshops in Arts Management, Directing, Make-Up and Salsa dances and training, and that all the workshops will take place during the day, while the performances will feature every evening, starting from 5.00pm.

He said there will be post performance discussions between the audiences and the cast (and crew) after each performance, and these are sessions that are expected to provide platforms for people to contribute to the on-going discourse on the city of Jos.

In his view, the festival will provide answers to the raison d’etre why people do the things they do, and that above all, it will “give us the avenue to celebrate ourselves and our work, as the festival continues to be a nurturing ground for new talents for the Nigerian stage.”

This year, the festival will be featuring Jumoke Olatubosun as a new director for the Nigerian stage as she joins Osasogie Efe Guobadia, a graduate of the Nigerian Film Institute and Leonell Echa, a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Jos, two directors who had their professional debut in the last festival.

While the plays for the festival chosen by a panel will examine issues ranging from greed, disappointment, cowardice, heroism, and selflessness duty to society, the workshops will provide alternative career prospects for young people and aspiring actors to look deeply into the arts of the theatre as another viable means of work and a further challenge to their talents; just as the festival will be extended to the nation’s capital, Abuja, for three weekends, starting March 8th, 2013.

The 7th Jos Festival of Theatre is receiving support from the Embassy of the United States of America, Nigeria, Embassy of Czech Republic, Grand Cereals Limited, Jos Business School, the International Performers Aid Trust (IPAT), and the Alliance Francaise, Jos, alongside an array of other local supporters and individuals.

The longest surviving independent theatre festival in Nigeria, the last edition of the Jos Festival of Theatre was held in February 2012.

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