I have announced very loudly that I will be doing four major plays this December. This will be the first time that any independent individual will embark on such a huge project in the theatre space.
Immediately after I announced it, I got calls and messages from some very strategic people.
Mohammed Garuba, super brilliant investment banker and co-founder of Cardinal Stone, was the first to call and we went through the strategy with a fine tooth comb.
Then Dr. Fasoranti, the ED of Zenith Bank, also reached out with his own advice on how this would be done.
My brother, Yemi Odusanya, ED at Keystone, gave me a sound lecture on how to go about it.
My other brother, Kola Adeshina of Sahara Group, also gave his own powerful advice.
Then my life mentor, Mr. Kekere Ekun, weighed in by saying, “Only commit to what you can do.”
My energy levels soared with all of this.
Look at it as a mini festac. It will be a project manager’s nightmare. Over 500 actors and another 500 from media, sound, lights, hotels, printers, carpenters, and all that.
The initial projected cost will be between N70m and N100m. Now imagine this.
The Awo set, built by the great Abbey, took him about 3 weeks from design to execution. Now imagine him building four like this .
The Ogiame set is complex because he has to show the Ogiame in the 50s and the latest well-respected Olu of Warrri. I do not envy him.
So for four weekends, there will be seismic movements all over the place. Jobs will be created and wealth created. An artist is given an opportunity to find fulfillment, and I can be crazy enough to even add an art exhibition with Artsplit during the day.
So how will I fund it? This is the simplest of them all. First, I’ll cut costs and leverage economies of scale.
The set builder will build all four sets, and this should drive down his cost by about 20%. We already have Awo set intact. Just refit.
The same with light and sound. The huge work will drive down their costs. Then fees for directors, which usually are on the high side, would also be held down strategically.
The trick is that no director is indispensable. Cost decides the final four. Because we must deliver.
Now the markets are I will break the marketing strategy into wholesale and retail.
Wholesale is for potential sponsors who will support all four, and these are institutional and high-network individuals.
They will provide 50% of the budget. I will push aggressively into the space and show them immense value and reason to be part of it.
For a fraction of the cost of Big Brother, you can get more mileage out of a serious market segmentation.
Then I will move myself to the position of the GMD. I will look at each production as a subsidiary, complete with its own team and management.
So Awo, for instance, will have two leads. Makinde, the director, will lead the technical side, while Lanke will be the production manager to handle the backend and logistics.
Each play will have its own budget and be directed to a specific market segmentation.
So Ogiame, for example, will have its own database of over 500 potential sponsors, both institutional and HNIs.
Already, my Lord, Dere Otubu, Chairman of EKDC, who strongly supported Ogiame in Warri, has stated his readiness.
Each play will be rehearsed separately at different locations, and each play will be overseen by a general production manager who has undergone very serious training on managing huge things like this.
Remember, we did Emir Sanusi simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja, over 750km apart. with the same logistics and budgetary challenges.
Now the money is the easiest. The most difficult part is finding a quality thespian to fill in the roles and give us quality. With these, the directors, who are well experienced as always, will have the freedom to deliver in that space.
Already, the Muson Centre is on lockdown. Our digital media partners are on lockdown and our forever sponsors, First Bank and Zenith, are on lockdown.
So the more people tell me it can’t be done, the more excited I get about this.
We will deliver the biggest ever independent theatre experience since Festac 77 to millions globally for the whole of December without breaking a sweat.
Don’t travel, because your wife will be distracted this December.
I, too, have mouth problems.
Duke of Shomolu