Bolanle Austen-Peters is one of the leading figures in Nigerian entertainment today. She is the founder of Terra Kulture and Bolanle Austen Productions (BAP) Productions. She is a lawyer, a theatre and onscreen movie producer and director. She is an art enthusiast and has changed the perspective of the Nigerian theatre industry.
Early life and education
Bolanle Austen Peters was born on 4 February 1969. She was born to Aare Afe Babalola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Yeye Modupe Babalola. She had her secondary education at both the Command Secondary School Ibadan and the International School Ibadan.
After her SSCE, she went for her undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos, where she studied law. Next, she went for her masters in International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is married to the son of the late Olofin Ijaye of Lagos – Adegboyega Austen-Peters, and they are blessed with children.
Bolanle worked in her father’s law firm after her master’s studies. While working in her father’s firm, she kept sending out job applications to other companies. She was invited by the United Nations for an interview and eventually got a job as the company secretary of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Switzerland. After a while, she moved on to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Finally, just before she relocated to Nigeria and birthed Terra Kulture, she worked with the United Nations Development Program.
Bolanle Austen-Peters founded the Nigerian arts, education and cultural organisation, Terra Kulture in 2003. She started with stage musicals, instead of the normal stage play known in Nigeria. The pattern was new and had no street credibility, so they had about two or three persons attend the show.
Although she was discouraged, Bolanle didn’t give up. So, she kept pushing. She pitched her ideas to several angel investors and couldn’t get investors until after six months.
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With the creation of Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions, she raised the bar in the theater industry with the production of SARO the Musical in 2013 and has since produced five additional plays. In December 2014 and April 2015, BAP productions produced SARO THE MUSICAL 2 at the MUSON Center.
She worked as a Consultant to the Ford Foundation Lagos and helped raise millions of dollars for the Museum through Arts and Business Council.