Agoro climaxes today

BY: Ariel Awen
The Bio-Tonic singers were impressive
The Bio-Tonic singers were impressive

Since Thursday, patrons to the National Theatre have been treated to an educational and cultural experience in a series of drama, music and dance productions dubbed, Agoro.

Agoro, which ends today, June 30, is a major production marking the year long silver jubilee celebrations as the National Theatre explores different cultures around the world.

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 The three-day event featured performances from the National Dance Company of Ghana, the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Drama Company, Azaguno Cultural Troupe, Ghana National Service Central Band and the Bio-Tonic singers.

Thursday’s opening kicked off with an introduction by Mawuli Semevor, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, who presented the purpose of gathering with a sketch.

Afterwards, group after group mounted the stage to feed the audience with exciting acts. The audience enjoyed significant and interesting acts by the resident groups of the National Theatre. 

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But noteworthy among all the performances on the night was the Sufi ritual  dance by Sashar Zarif and his team from Central Asia. It was the first time the dance was the performed outside a religious setting and the National Theatre was the first platform in Ghana to enjoy the beautiful poetic presentation.

Other pieces such as When the Heart Opens and Aklala, a symphonic music for orchestra and dance of Ewe origin were also well received. Aklala is based on two Southern Anlo Ewe Atrikpui and Afa songs. The piece is rearranged with steel drums, vibraphone and traditional Agbadza.

The Bi-Tonic singers were also phenomenal with their enactments of Soon Ah Will be Done, an acapella in memory of Patrons of the National Theatre who have passed—Efo Kojo Mawugbe, Prof. Francis Nii Yartey, Prof. Komla Amoako, Prof. N.Z. Nayo.

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Speaking with the Daily Graphic after the show, the Executive Director of the National Theatre, Mrs Amy Appiah, said Agoro is an important production because it promotes culture and it’s significance in the “current dispensation”.

 “Agoro is an appreciation of who we are as Ghanaians and giving audience to other cultures which are unknown. With Agoro, we bare our hearts and souls in our journey to adulthood while celebrating our diversity. It takes patrons through different parts of the world to experience other cultures through collaborations.

 “From the response we have so far, it was worth the time and we hope more people show up for the last production,” she said.

Agoro has been possible through the efforts of various artistic directors including Professor Yao Younge (composer), Professor Zelma Badu-Younge (choreographer), Nii-Tete Yartey (Concert Director), Isaac Annoh (Director of Music of the Ghana National Symphony Orchestra)  and Mawuli Semevor.

The others are Sashar Zarif, a multi-disciplinary performing artist, educator and researcher, Dr Erik Forst (Director of Percussion at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennysylvania, Mike Ramsey, a percussionist and a drummer and Dr Kristofer Olsen, a music professor.