May 23, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Founder and Director-General of Freetong Players International (FPI), Charlie Haffner, has disclosed that by next year they would open the first cultural college in Sierra Leone that will offer degree and diploma courses in all the areas of arts and culture.
Director Haffner made the above disclosure at the British Council Hall ,A.J Momoh Street in Freetown, during the thirty-two (32) years’ celebration of FPI, where he also noted that FPI was founded in 1985 by himself, his wife and some pupils from the Sierra Leone Grammar School and the Collegiate Methodist Secondary School respectively.
“Since 1985, Freetong Players international has become one of Sierra Leone’s well known Arts organization specialized in community theatre. In the last 32 years, they have been contributing to national development through drama, music, accapella songs, television and radio jingles, cultural dance, workshops and festival,” he said.
He recalled that theatre faced lots of challenges in 1987 when the then Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, Alfred Abrahim Akibo-Betts, asked all theatre groups to move out of the City Hall, which, he said led to the collapse of many groups.
“Despite the challenge, we did not give up and we started moving to places to sing about important event not only about the country but also about the world as whole,” he added.
He disclosed that previously, his organisation was called Freetong Players but in 1992 when they started to travel around the world, people started calling them Freetong Players International.
Simon Ingram-Hill, Director of British Council Sierra Leone, said the Council has a very good relationship with Freetong Players International, as it has always been promoting theatre in the country.
He stated that Freetong Players International have contributed immensely to national development with their songs by informing the people about important events, adding that they also played a great role in the sensitization of citizens during the Ebola virus outbreak.