Sharon-Ann Alofokhai: Life Lessons from WAKAA the Musical

wakaa the musical 2I knew by the long line of cars in front of MUSON Centre that many people in Lagos also thought that seeing ‘WAKAA, the musical‘ would be a great way to spend their Sunday afternoon. My friends had seen SARO, another musical by BAP Productions, when it premiered the year before, and by their raving reviews I knew I was in for a good time. More exciting for me was the fact that Bolanle Austen-Peters was piloting this. I was faintly familiar with her work in the Arts in Nigeria and at TerraKulture, so I was sure that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

My ticket was for the penultimate show, by 3PM on January 3rd. A large crowd was milling around the Shell Hall, the venue of the musical and the air literally buzzed with excitement. When the doors opened at past 3, we shuffled into the hall.

Bleachers had been added to the back of the hall, to give a raised, amphitheatre-like appearance. My friend and I made our way to the front of the hall, searching for the perfect seats that would help us catch every word and every movement. Seats found, we sat back and waited to experience what was going to be the highlight of my holidays.

By the end of the show, I had one word on my lips that I repeated again and again – AMAZING!! I’m not going to give a review of the play – you have to watch it yourself next time it shows! But, my head was spinning with delight at what I had just witnessed and I immediately began talking to my companion about the lessons I could draw from my experience.

Excellence Is Not A First-World Privilege
I have a background in the Arts so I could be eagle-eyed at creative events like this. However, I was blown away by the masterpiece that I saw. The creative use of contemporary and ‘old-school’ Nigerian music, the development of the characters, the right use of lighting…I could go on and on! Excellence has an unmistakable voice, and I heard it loud and clear while watching WAKAA.

We often complain about how difficult it is to do business in Nigeria or to get certain things done on a world-class level. Watching WAKAA thrashed that argument. I dare say it was a world-class performance. It may not be easy, but it can definitely be done. Mrs. Austen-Peters stands as a witness that it can be done.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child
We celebrate Bolanle Austen-Peters’ dream today, but I dare say that it would not have been easy to materialise without the help she got from the cast, crew, friends and organisations who supported in one way or the other. The back drop at the red carpet area was filled with the logos of the plethora of companies that saw value in the vision and pitched in. She acknowledged a number of these vision-helpers in her vote of thanks as well.

As you travel the path to fulfilling your dreams, be mindful of the relationships in your life. Invest in people. Acknowledge and treasure those who bear your vision with you and labour along with you for its fulfilment.

Consistency Has A Big Pay Day
When Mrs. Austen-Peters started on this path in 2003 with the establishment of Terra Kulture, I wonder if she knew that her name would be mentioned when speaking about Arts and Culture in Nigeria. I’m so sure that if she had told someone then that a time would come when Nigerians would pay a minimum of NGN5,000 and as much as NGN50,000 for one ticket just to watch a stage play, they would have laughed uncontrollably and called her names. See who’s laughing now!

Whatever your dream is, without consistency, it will probably never see the light of day. Everyone with a success story also has chapters of tears, disappointment and failure(s) in their tale.

Mixing Business With Pleasure Leaves Everyone Happy
A problem many artistic people face is finding the balance between their creative, artistic side and making the numbers add up. If the numbers do not add up, the show cannot go on. A good mix of business and marketing strategies can be the kiss of life to a creative project. The hall was filled to capacity that day; that means that about 1000 people were in that hall. Someone did something right!

I definitely will see WAKAA next time it shows and I will take as many hostages as I can along with me! I guess that’s another lesson – Getting customers emotionally invested in your business turns them into your brand evangelists!

15 Comments on Sharon-Ann Alofokhai: Life Lessons from WAKAA the Musical
  • Saint Rhymes January 7, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Nice write! I like the 3rd point…mixing business with pleasure. I hope to know how to do that more

    • Bade January 8, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      I really enjoyed Wakaa but you should also have seen Kakadu. Dare I say it trumps Wakaa anytime any day. From script to storyline to cast to stage production.

      It’s a new dawn for Nigerian stage and I’m very excited about it.

      • Amerie January 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        Agreed. Kakadu was EPIC!!!

  • Sylvia Chika January 7, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Absolutely lovely!

    I will definitely see WAKAA next time it shows!

    Great review!

  • teeteepretty January 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Chai! I enjoyed Wakaaaaa. It was so niceeeeeeeeeee. Well done to the cast and crew

  • Pinkie January 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    go Sharon! unilag babe.. proud of you. very good review.

  • Bisiola January 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Lovely piece Sharon. You’ve got an hostage in me. I’ll keep an ear out for the next show.

  • Olajumoke January 7, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Yay! Go Sharon! Lovely review. Hope you’ll take me as an hostage next time Wakaa is showing!

  • Queen-Carol Jones January 7, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    My prof…..that piece was absolutely fascinating. I’Lloyd definitely watch Wakaa the time it shows….good marketing strategy too. We’ll done Sharon.

  • January 7, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Is this Life Lessons from Wakaa or from Bolanle Austen Peters? While this is creative writing and even though it will be too much selling, i think ‘Life Lessons from BAP on theatre’ would be a good entreprenuerial piece. Kudos goes to Bolanle and i look forward to many more stage productions from you.

  • Jessica Wealth January 8, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Awesome piece ?

  • Gbenga January 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

    What a lovely piece, Sharon! This is a beautiful reflection on the amazing Wakaa – the Musical. Thumbs up to BAP Productions for a truly memorable experience.

  • Elohor Henrietta January 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Getting customers emotionally invested in your business turns them into your brand evangelists!
    That’s very deep!!!!

  • Christiana January 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I saw Wakaa the musical and it was beyond Amazing… Nigeria stage play is definitely going places

  • Notey January 14, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Great write-up. Love the life lessons, and yes, it really does take a village!

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