Q&A With Jude Udueni

Read the next in our series of Q&A’s with participants for Producer Farm 2018, a residency which provides time and space for contemporary performance producers to refresh their current practice, and consider their future potential.

Jude Udueni is the administrator at the International Festival of Contemporary Dance. He is one of the participants of the 2017/2018 British Council Festival Management Training. He also the official playwright for New Generation for Change Educational Fund and writes short dramas for schools in Lagos state.

1. What challenges do you encounter within your area of producing?

People are a major challenge. The Niger Delta region is quite volatile in nature, and that even affects the creative sector. In theatre productions, to get a job done and achieve the required standard you cannot compromise discipline. This is one virtue the people around here don’t really understand. If I have thirty days to achieve a musical on a budget; this means the team needs to work hard and utilize all our resources.

To get this going I create a tight schedule, but my artists can’t keep up with the discipline, so I design disciplinary measures like allowance deductions for lateness and absence without explanation and the consent of the team. Somewhere along the line some of the artists send their cult members to threaten me on the road. Of course I won’t bend, but this is a major challenge for me.

2. Why did you apply for Producer Farm and what do you hope to get out of it? 

I have an understanding of working here in my country. I really believe that I am a good professional but when you work in a hole and you never go out to see how other people work you can’t do a personal assessment.

I believe strongly that Producer Farm will give me the opportunity to mix with some of the best professionals in the world, so I can do that personal assessment and know the areas that I need to develop.

The greatest take away will be the international working experience and the networking with these top professionals. This no doubt will be a turnaround in my career.

3. Can you tell us about an event you have been to which has made you think differently?

In March I organized a musical festival I called Festival of Rising Stars, Feristars.

The concept was to give a platform to upcoming musicians who have never had an opportunity to showcase themselves.  Most of these people don’t know how to get their songs on the radio stations or their videos on the TV.

I did not have any sponsorship but I put in some of my personal funds, got a hall on a campus and got people to send in their songs and videos. The turnout was encouraging. It was a free show but I have never seen people have so much fun ever before.

What really touched me was how grateful the artists were. During the interviews they made me understand that no one has ever given them that kind of opportunity to showcase themselves and they are keen that I should continue with this work.

It made me wonder; what are people who have funds to throw around doing? Why are these young talents wasting away? This really got me thinking.

Producer Farm is a partnership with Dance Umbrella, Bristol Old Vic FERMENT, Fuel Coombe Farm Studios & In Between Time