Interview with Sarah Boulos on SPAN@10 by Tamo Iruene

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When a web search of organizations that support youth, dozens of websites will lead you to resources for enterprise, entrepreneurship and even football.  But what of the youth whose experience in sports leads them to feelings of failure? Or those that can never create anything with their hands to save their lives?

Do the same web search of organizations in the performing arts and find…. very, very little.

A vibrant Theatre Arts presence in a community brings other benefits as well.  It can bring in tourism  – and a steady cash flow to business owners.

The Society for The Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN), a performing arts institution that combines Nigerian cultural traditions with world-class training, creating a platform to nurture and release creative potential in art, dance and music has been in existence for 10 years.

10 years that have not been without their challenges, their highs and their memorable moments.

Sarah Boulos in her capacity as Founder and Chairman of The Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria has trained and or contributed to over five hundred individuals in the professional field. SPAN has showcased and partnered with over 100 NGO’s and Mission work as well as provided on a yearly basis over thirty jobs in the entertainment industry.

In a No Holds Barred interview with Mrs. Boulos, she had this to say

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SARAH BOULOS

Why did SPAN start?

Because it was needed and I was ready to serve and today the industry is soaring with professional performing artists hired and owning private businesses. SPAN, BORN OUT of a GOD GIVEN VISION IS PURPOSE DRIVEN AND PURPOSE DRIVEN MISSION are ignited because of a need and the need is to educate and present performing artists  to provide them with job opportunities and present their art and for children to develop themselves in an area of education that is missing in Nigeria.

Was it difficult being accepted by Nigerians?

It was as first when we started but as much now because the Nigerian community can now see the benefits of the performing arts and what it brings to the community, like new job opportunities , a better and healthier lifestyle, a creative energy in the economy, a positive outlook on our city and A reduction in the poverty line.

What challenges did you face?

To build awareness and educate the audience that this project is very much-needed in our society and industry.

At the beginning, banks did not take me seriously and now they are hiring and sponsoring my student programs. Fundraising was also a major challenge and now it’s a lot easier, people are considering sponsoring the arts!!

What is different now…from 10 yrs ago?

Because the industry has opened partly due to our work, there is more hope to see a performing art center built and a place for young people to learn and develop themselves and pursue their career in the performing arts because of our success stories in the Industry.

THE STIGMA, THOUGH STILL PRESENT IS NOT AS STRONG!

Do you regret any of the decisions you made then?

No, only when I get tired and desire to quit then a young child gives me a flower or I receive an encouraging word from one of my students then I know how precious and needed my services are.

What would you do things differently if you had the chance?

Yes I would, in certain areas of communication and who I partner with but in general the journey is necessary in every dream as we must learn lessons in order to grow

What does SPAN @ 10 mean to you in a nutshell?

A place where our citizens are educated , entertained and inspired for more through the performing arts .

What do you expect the show to accomplish?

The show will reinforce our vision and the need to develop more educational programs and to build a place to accommodate students and citizens to explore the wonders of the performing arts.

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