The first Beeta Arts Festival debuted in Abuja from November 12th to 14th, 2021. Beeta Arts Festival, a cultural event aimed at connecting Africa and using performing arts as a tool to change the narrative.
The opening ceremony held at 6ixx Lounge and Grill in Maitama ushered in the festival with great colors, festivities, and cultural displays from local performers. The ceremony mirrored a reimagined Africa. In attendance included guests from the diplomatic community, art lovers, and distinguished members of society.
The Festival had a well-rounded experience, including various Stage Plays, with Jollyride on a Molue bus to Tea party set in a 360 augmented reality room to Just checking focused on DNA testing to Cancelled on cancel and mob culture, Beertanglement which addressed the frustrations of the common man to massive hit Room 7 which focused on overexposure on social media. The Theatre segment of the festival was entertaining, thought-provoking, and immersive.
The Film Screenings of the festival was also vibrant addressing different issues from acceptance, feminism, recovery, post parting depression, bullying and so much more was very well received as movies from filmmakers from across the Continent were represented with the Multichoice factory alumni screening their films, all movies reflected the authentic African story and were executed beautifully. The alumni of the Multichoice Talent Factory were in attendance with three of their films which were received well by audiences. Boogie Nights, Art Exhibitions by Amanda Kirby Okoye, a vibrant Festival Market, With Music by Songstress Jessica Bongos.
There were also conversations with prolific Director Kunle Afolayan, Award-winning Actress/ Director and Producer, Lala Akindoju, NANTAP’s president Israel Eboh, NLNG Prize For Literature winner, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Eriye Onagoruwa, Paul Ugbede, Onyinye Madu amongst others.
In its true Pan-African fashion, the first edition of the Beeta Arts Festival featured content from Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria. The African film showcase was curated by Fibby Kiora of Manyatta Screenings Kenya and also Films from the Alumni of the West African Multichoice Talent Factory and rising filmmaker John Youla Gotip and Sonia Nwosu.
‘It was an emotional rollercoaster, I enjoyed it because I did not see the end coming”,were the words a festival attendee used when describing her experience after seeing one of the stageplays, Cancelled.
Cancelled was directed by Tony Edet (Thin Tall Tony). The festival featured Stage plays written by winners and finalists of the Beeta Playwright Competition, Olarotimi Fakunle, prolific thespian produced the Theatre segment of the Festival with the highly successful ‘Room 7’ by John Ekpeno Ukut leading the pack starring Nollywood uprising star Tope Olowoniyan. Top Ugandan Director, Filmmaker, and Playwright, Angie Emurwon directed a play Tea Party, leveraging the use of technology.
Beeta Arts Festival was a meeting point for the arts, an immersive experience, and fun for the whole family.
The curtain call of the Beeta Arts Festival was drawn on the night of November 14th, after three days of fun-packed activities in the city of Abuja. The night ended on an exhilarating note with the talented Jazz singer Jessica Bongos serenading festival attendees, and the Festival Director, Bikiya Graham-Douglas leading the closing remarks.
Beeta Arts Festival was sponsored and supported by Heritage Bank, Chairborne Global Services, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Art-Tech District, Abuja, Africa Magic, Ibis Hotel, Lagos, ITK, Union Bank, 7UP Bottling Company, 2Sure sanitizers, 6ixx Restaurant and Grill, PaperWorth Books, Diageo (Malta Guinness), and the likes of Guardian Life, BellaNaija, Silverbird, Classic FM, and Beat FM, YNaija as official media partners of the festival.
Pictures by Kola Oshalusi