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Black Heritage, UK, an organisation that serves as the voice of the black people in the United Kingdom, is set to adapt William Shakespeare’s works to suit black people all over the world. Adewale Oshodi writes about this initiative, as well as the other initiatives of the organisation towards assisting in the development of Nigeria’s movie industry. Although William Shakespeare, considered as the world’s greatest playwright and poet, had written enough plays that teach morals, perserverance, love, etc, the Black Heritage of the United Kingdom, a voice of the black people in the UK, is, however, not contended with all these, as the organisation has set out to adapt the writer’s 37 plays into themes that will suit black people all over the world. Tagged Black Heritage Adaptations of the complete works of William Shakespeares, the initiative would retain the dialogue of the playwright’s orginal works, however, the theme, plots and stage description would be adapted to suit Black Heritage’s message. This was made known recently by Lady Olayemi Olapeju, a Director of Film Academy, UK and Sistuh of the Black Heritage, also of the UK, while conducting an eight-day workshop to celebrate this year’s World Book and Copywright Day, which was held in Akure, the Ondo State capital recently. According to Lady Olapeju, the essence of the workshop was to impact more knowledge on those working in Nigeria’s film industry Nollywood. “One of the objectives of the Film Academy is to act as bedrock for bringing Nigerian films into the frontline. We work towards providing funds for producing films, through our Film Co-operative Scheme, where artistes and film producers put resources together for the production of films a very common system of producing films in the UK. “Again, there is the thrift, where artistes and producers contribute money on a daily basis, and they collect back their contributions with film grants,” Lady Olapeju stated. While speaking on the academy’s initiative towards adapting Williams Shakespeare’s plays, the Sistuh of Black Heritage said the project had started since January 2010, and there would be three competitions and workshops on the initiative this year. “The first competition which we are holding now is the writing of a one-page article of 250 words on any of Shakespeare’s plays. “This will also include artwork to illustrate Shakespeare’s six poems and 154 verse sonnets. “The second competition is the screen play writing workshop, which is scheduled to hold on May 27, 2010. The third competition is a Home Video Competition Forum, which will come up on October 1, 2010,” the Film Academy director said. However, the artistic director of Film Academy, Miss Oyinda Agbaku, who could not not make it to Nigeria, as a result of the volcanic ash problem that shut down airports across Europe, had to organise a reading competition for Nigerian Kids in London, to celebrate the World Book and Copyright Day. During the reading, Agbaku read out a poem, composed by two-year-old British-born Nigerian child, Oluwasefunmi Akerele, of blessed memory. The second competition, according to Joy Adeeko, the Press Officer of the Film Academy, will come up at the Ondo State School of the Blind, Owo, Ondo State, on May 27, 2010, in celebration of the children’s day. At the end of the eight-day workshop, an award- night was held where 199 Shakespeare Awards and Screen Development Fund, were given to winners across the country. Among the winners was the Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Ranti Akerele; Nollywood screen writers, Owadimbola Ladi Dada and Yomho Emakhu Kingsley. The winners of the awards, will among others, enjoy free weekend trips to Shakespeare’s town, Stratford-Upon-Avon, in the UK. Other directors of the Film Academy are Oyinda Agbaku, based in the UK, and Bridget Idowu, based in the United States.
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