By Josephine Obute
Lagos – Chief Lari Williams, a veteran theatre practitioner, has commended Lagos state Gov.The playwright, while commending Gov. Akinwumi Ambode for proposing establishment of five theatre centres in the state
He gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Artistes’ Village in Lagos on Sunday.
He said that theatre, if properly encouraged, could boost the economy of the nation and bring back the theatre tradition.
“Entertainment is currently the leading source of economy in most developed countries; England has invested in entertainment business for over 500 years.
“The emphasis should not be on the theatre making money but encouraging artists to stage performances that will boost investments for the nation,’’ he said.
The London trained artist noted that theatre culture could rebrand the country if properly handled by the right hands.
“The nation has invested over N70 million at inception of the National theatre,such huge investment cannot be wasted.
‘’The professionals must collaborate to build good investment for the theatre business.’’
The septuagenarian poet, playwright and arts commentator, who runs a play house, advised government to make the National theatre conducive and viable enough to attract practitioners and investors.
He also appealed to theatre practitioners to collaborate and patronise the national theatre to bring back the theatre tradition in the country to the limelight.
Lari, however, expressed concern that video production had taken over the tradition of theatre in the entertainment industry.
“A stage actor is better trained than a film artist, because you must be a professional before you can act on a stage, but the camera has given room to gate crashers in the industry.”
He noted that many artists now learn the profession in front of cameras, a development he said had discouraged prospective artists in the industry from undergoing training.
The septuagenarian noted that seasoned theatre practitioners as the late Ogunde, Joke Silva, and a host of others left indelible marks in the industry because they were professionally groomed.
NAN reports that the world theatre day is marked annually on March 27 since it 1962 started in Paris and was dedicated to celebrate theatre around the world and the practitioners.