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Naija flavour takes over Stratford’s Theatre Royal

WOMAN IN A MASK: A model at Theatre Royal Stratford

NIGERIANS ARE ready to roll when it comes to Olympic sports such as basketball, boxing, athletics and, for the first time, canoeing.

And so the energy, sounds, aromas and musical vibe of the country, affectionately called Naija have been put on show for all to embrace at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, a short distance from the Olympic Stadium in east London.

The theatre is currently hosting Nigeria’s hospitality hub, dubbed Nigeria House, during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The hub is a hive of activities promoting Nigeria's rich and diverse cultural heritage and a celebration of the best of Nigerian life, art and fashion.

Like the vibrancy for which the African nation is known, the house immediately captivates visitors with its traditional market stores lining the front of the east London theatre.

Inside, visitors are able enjoy various activities and learn more about the culture of one of Africa’s most populous and popular nations, while the world’s athletes compete for glory nearby.

Nigeria House also reflects the country’s recognition of the aspirations and talents of its people in developing the creative industries in Nigeria, a nation of more than 162 million people.

The cultural and creative display has been sponsored by Nigeria’s federal government, which has forged an artistic collaboration with Theatre Royal Stratford East.


ON SHOW: Nigerian masks on display

This new project is aimed at assisting 30 artists, creative businesses, designers, musicians and actors who are Nigerian or of Nigerian descent, organisers said.

From among 150 initial applicants, those selected will receive mentoring, advice and financial help in developing their careers, thus producing work that will be showcased at the theatre during the Olympic Games and beyond.

One of the exhibitors at Nigeria House, designer Patience Torlowei told the Voice: “I am very honoured to be in the UK to represent my country and showcase my label Patience Please which is not just for Nigerian women but women of the world.”

Represent

The proud mother of two was selected by the Bank of Industry to represent the garment sector, being the first lingerie designer in Nigeria.

She will be closing Africa Fashion Week London on August 3 and holding a free fashion show on August 5 at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Torlowei said: “My aim is to attract international trade with our products and export finished garments and lingerie made 100 percent in Nigeria and up to the highest standard to international markets.”

She added: “I welcome all visitors and fashionistas to Nigeria House to come along and visit my pop up shop inside the theatre, where they can learn how we produce our stunning collection and see how Africa and Nigeria influences the fashion world.”

And Nigeria’s Olympic officials are confident that the country’s 53 athletes who are close by in the Olympic Village will have a successful Games.

President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Sani Ndanusa told The Guardian Nigeria: “At a time like this, you need to thank God that all is well in the team. There are no worries in camp.”

He added: “With the support and prayers of Nigerians, we can make Nigerians proud. We have done our bit and it is left for God to bless us. He will bless us.”

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