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Theatre is an orphan of creative industry—Abeiku Sagoe

BY: Jayne Buckman-Owoo
Actor Abeiku Sagoe describes theatre as an orphan
Actor Abeiku Sagoe

VETERAN actor, Abeiku Sagoe has described theatre as an orphan of the creative industry considering that no attention and support is given to it in the country compared to music and movies.

Abeiku Sagoe believes theatre deserves some attention too just like the other sectors of the creative industry.

In a chat with the Graphic Showbiz on Monday, May 30, Sagoe bemoaned why all the consideration is towards movies and music with no attention at all for theatre.

“Very few people have been left to struggle with theatre and even when you do your best to come out with a production, you are expected to pay at least GHc12,000 a night at the National Theatre to show it.

“I am not saying that people should use the National Theatre for free. Of course they also need money to run the place but I guess we can come up with something that will be beneficial to both parties.

“Just like what the Ghana Premier League have with the stadiums. When Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak are playing, they don’t pay for the venue but after the match, they share the gate proceeds so I am wondering why we can’t introduce a similar thing to theatre.

“When we perform, the National Theatre can split the gate proceeds with us but they complain they also need money to pay staff, pay utility bills etc so charging us is the only way they can be operational.

"Theatre is really suffering, very few people such as Ebo Whyte are surviving with his quarterly plays”, he added.

According to Abeiku Sagoe, because of the challenges with the sector, it is difficult to get even stars to act in plays so they rely on new actors and even with them, when they do a couple of plays and get movie gigs, they tend to pursue that area and forget about theatre.

“Also, we the theatre practitioners need to come together under one umbrella so we can have a united front, there is MUSIGA, FIPAG and others but we do not have an association so that also ought to be looked at if there is any future for the sector.

“I also believe the government has a role to play in reviving the sector, I have never heard any Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture mention theatre in their speeches, all they talk about is movies and music.

"None of them has talked about theatre so evidently, that is not their focus,” he said.

Away from theatre, Abeiku Sagoe shared his thoughts on the current movie industry, “It is picking up and I must say the young producers are doing very well coming out with really good productions.

"They show them at the Silverbird Cinemas at the Accra and Westhill malls but after a week or two, they have nowhere else to show them.

"As a result, some producers are forced to take their movies to TV stations after premiering and these TV stations do not pay”, he lamented.

He, however, suggested since young people patronise the movies, showing them on campuses could help rake in some money.

“Also, streaming the movies is another option, it seems like it is the way to go now but we haven’t really understood it very well so that will take time”, he said.

Comparing the current crop of actors to those of his days, Abeiku Sagoe said, “In our time, we learnt a lot, one had to rehearse for a long time before getting the chance to act but these days, people just jump in front of the camera and it is a little problematic,” he concluded.