THE Board Chairman of National Theatre of Ghana, Nana Fredua-Agyeman Ofori-Atta, says it is important for people to erase the perception that Concert Party, a popular Ghanaian stage drama, is a source of entertainment for only illiterates.
According to him, it was somewhat disastrous for the advancement of theatre as a guiding light for the performing arts, for anyone to regard Concert Party as ‘kolo’.
Speaking with Graphic Showbiz on the sidelines at the relaunch of Concert Party at the National Theatre last Tuesday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the socio-cultural impact of Concert Party had not been aptly promoted.
The relaunch is partnership between the National Theatre and Wontumi Communications to revive the programme after suffering a major setback due to COVID-19 in the last two years.
“There is little education about Concert Party. In fact, many people consider it entertainment for the uneducated. I quite remember when I led a delegation from the National Theatre to pay an official visit to the Ghana Concert Party Union in 2019 and it was reported by the media, I got some people teasing me that I was a ‘concert man’.
“While they might have said it light-heartedly, they actually were being stereotypically demeaning because of their perception of it. Unfortunately, this is the kind of box we have placed Concert Party and its stifling its development agenda,” he said.
Concert Party is one of the theatre productions by National Theatre started in 1993. It grew over the years and became very popular, both on live shows at the National Theatre or on Ghana Television (GTV).
However, its attractiveness have waned since the late 2000s, despite the many initiatives introduced to revamp the programme which have not yielded much fruits to take it back to its former days of glory.
In the view of Mr Ofori-Atta, the relevance of Concert Party in the socio-cultural advancement of Ghana cannot be ignored.
“Through the programme, we have benefited from the skills of actors, musicians, and script writers. Concert Party embodies our culture as a group of people since it tells us our history. It is ambassadorial and a tourist attraction and this can obviously not be thought to be for only the uneducated,” he said.
The Executive Director of National Theatre, Mrs Amy Frimpong, described the relaunch as a good time to serve the entertainment needs of its audience.
“Concert Party stands as a core among these programmes and its popularity is beyond the shores of our country. It has travelled to Italy, Germany, U.S.A and Canada for performances since its introduction at the National Theatre 30 years ago.
“Going forward, Concert Party would come back as live performances with the recorded version broadcast on Wontumi Television. What it means is that we will watch the show at the National Theatre and possibly across the regions via television,” she said.
She disclosed that auditions would be opened to the public to offer their talents and skills in acting, singing and comedy.
The Chief Executive Officer of Wontumi Communications, Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka Chairman Wontumi, pledged his outfit’s commitment to ensure the success of Concert Party in the face of competition from supposedly enlightened programmes on television today.