Few days ago, I had some interesting argument with a colleague on a Board sitting over which venue in Accra is best to organize an awards show. This very knowledgeable friend of mine argued tensely against the use of the National Theatre, citing a myriad of issues that have dogged the facility in the last couple of years. I thought differently though!
After the organization of the Zylofon Music – produced ‘Becca@10’ Concert, one issue that is constantly raised at the Theater popped up again – the malfunctioning of the air conditioning system. This time, the complaint was resounding, which prompted my friend and colleague, Kwame Dadzie of www.citifmonline.com to pen an insightful, research-based piece on the Theater and its gnawing air condition system, calling for it to be closed down, until the problem is solved.
Boycott and Go Where?
“The National Theatre must be boycotted by event planners and organizers forthwith. When that happens the government and the right authorities will show more concern by putting it in good shape for use,” Kwame wrote.
I concur, that it is the responsibility of the National Theater Board and its Management to manage the facility for proper utilization – and especially when event planners are paying for the facility, one would expect that the Theater lives up to such obligation.
For years, the patron is the one that flounders in the case of flopping air condition system and it is good to see and hear the patron speak up, but is closing down the facility the best possible panacea? Not really!
It is no secret that the 2 major event venues we have in the country are the National Theater and the Accra International Conference Center, and for years, before and after the closure of the situation-saving Dome, these two facilities have shared all the major shows in the country.
Some event planners would give Kwame thumbs up for adding his voice to the incessant problem but, they surely would be scratching their heads in disagreement over the call for its closure. Shows have been booked and are already in their planning stages. Tickets are being printed and advertorials are being prepped; boycotting the facility would be a bit torrid and unacceptable.
How Come Roverman Prod. Gets It Right With The Theater All The Time?
No Event Planner has utilized the National Theater more than Uncle Ebo Whyte and Roverman Productions. For 10 years, the firm has collaborated with the Theater and organized a plethora of plays, well-patronized by theater-loving people.
Candidly, somebody like Ebo Whyte, who is planning the staging of the last quarter play at the Theater next month, would scowl at the call to close down the Theater. Close it down and go where?
For 10 years, I have not heard one patron grouse over the malfunctioning of any equipment, especially the air conditioning system at any Roverman event at the Thaeter. Clearly, somebody is doing something right!
For every Ebo Whyte play, several air conditions are seen in the auditorium, augmenting whatever the Theater provides. I will not comment on the evironment, the washrooms and everything else – those are not part of the subject matter.
Earlier this year, Uncle Ebo Whyte granted an interview to Kwasi Aboagye on Peace FM’s ‘Entertainment Review’ and provided valuable tips to event organizers on how to satisfy patrons at their events.
Read it here;
I spoke to Kweku Asiedu, an official of Roverman Productions, in a bid to figure out how his unit and its patrons have no qualms with gadgets and services at the Theater.
According to Mr. Asiedu, they (Roverman) see the National Theater as partners in all projects held at the facility. and this partnership has survived for 10 good years.
There’s always a fee for holding events at the venue, which comes with some apparatus including air condition system.
Roverman holds technical and production (pre – and post) meetings with the technical team of the Theater before events are done, to figure out what gadgets are working and what services can be provided by the Theater. Where the Theater falls short with regards to provision of services, Roverman fills the gap and negotiate on the fee.
This is one of the main reasons the Theater feels and looks good anytime Roverman is the building and feels like hell when another takes charge.
The National Theater To Close Down For Renovation, Temporarily!
Yes, the National Theater would be closed down, but definitely not because of a call to close it down because of malfunctioning air conditions.
Checks by this portal, www.entertainmentgh.com show that, the Theater is set to close down temporarily for renovation next year, tentatively in January.
The renovation would include overhauling, vacuuming, painting, and face-lifting groundwork. There would also be the replacing and fixing of old equipment, worn-out carpets and interior décor.
The last major renovation done at the Theater was in 2014 and that came with quite an improved interior décor, well-polished stage that affected artistic performances and helped with patron satisfaction.
Event Planners Should Take Control Too
Yes, the National Theater has its issues, but to be fair, even the Accra Int. Conference Center also has issues with the air condition system too. There have been instances where patrons at high profile events are seen fanning themselves with brochures, handkerchiefs and mobile phones at the Center.
Kwame Dadzie is right to state that the Government must ensure that facilities under the Theater are in good shape but it must also be noted that, to the patron who has doled out money to purchase ticket, the event planner has oversight responsibility over the event. It means, the patron holds the event organizer responsible in matters to do with security, safety and comfort. In this regard, it is essential that the event planner does everything possible to ensure that the facility is in top shape, services are properly rendered and satisfaction well guaranteed. That way, the event organizer can be sure of attracting the same or new patrons the next time the event comes up!
Yes, let’s call for the fixing of all major issues with the National Theater, but closing it down at this stage, just a few weeks to Christmas, won’t work!
Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo, www.entertainmentgh.com