* Lagos, Benin City, Ibadan, Osun, Asaba come alive for WTD
* NANTAP President: ‘We must stop being poster-faces at rallies, promoting political incompetence, corruption’
By Ozoro Opute
AS thespians all over the world celebrate World Theatre Day (WTD) 2022 on Sunday, March 27, 2022, Nigerian theatre artists will join their counterparts in a series of programmes that range from performances to advocacy for a just and egalitarian world order that places the interests of humanity first. Spearheading the series of events is the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) and its affiliate state chapters. Lagos, Ibadan, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Asaba and Benin City are cities that have dedicated programmes to mark the auspicious day.
And as political campaign season nears, NANTAP President, Mr. Israel Eboh has sent a strong message to his members, as well as those in Nollywood and the entire creative sector practitioners not to be used as “poster-faces at their (party) rallies, promoting their political incompetence and corruption”, but instead advised them to “use our theatre to provide bankable moral values that guarantee a better tomorrow.”
In fact, activities for WTD started during the week. They include workshops, ‘Artist Walk Against Social Abuses and Ritual Killings’ which takes place today from Shodex Garden at Anthony Village and ends at the National Theatre, Lagos. On Sunday, March 27, 2022, there will be ‘WTD Speeches, Advocacy and command performance of ‘Restless’ written by Yinka Folahan and directed by Tolu Fagbure. Performance time is 3pm at the Marquee, National Theatre, Lagos, with support from TIGOLF Travels and Tours, Lagos Council for Arts and Culture and SPAN.
In Asaba, Delta State, the state chapter will present performances and award, with the state’s Commission for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Lawrence Ejiofor, billed to receive ‘Theatre and Entertainment Person of the Year’ award, largely inspired by the building of Leisure Park and Film Village, undertaken by the state government.
At 3.00pm, at Model Theatre Studio, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the focus will be on ‘Building Sustainable Communities’ and performances.
Also at the Pit Theatre, Dramatic Arts Department, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, the state chapter will host performance activities such as dance, drama performance, and lecture, with the theme ‘Theatre and the Challenges of Environmental Impact’. This will be delivered by Prof. Wumi Raji on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, with an interactive session between students and members of the legendary theatre group, ‘Ori Olokun’.
Tomorrow in Ibadan at the Wole Soyinka Arts Theatre, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, NANTAP state chapter will host activities, with Mr. Greg Odutayo delivering a lecture on ‘The Performing Arts and a Depressed Economy’. Taye Akande (Taye Currency) and Afeez Oyetoro (Saka), NANTAP Ambassadors 2022, will feature in the programme line up.
In Benin City, the Edo State chapter of NANTAP will pay courtesy visits to the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Arts and Culture, Mrs. Iryn Omorogiuwa and a visit to some media houses and the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, led by NANTAP President, Mr. Eboh, where an award will be presented to the governor. A ‘Walk for Life’ is also part of activities for the Edo State chapter at Sam Ogbemudia Stadium. The chapter is also collaborating with Edo Health Insurance Commission for ‘Keep Fit with EDOHIS’. The chapter is collaborating with the Ministry of Arts and Culture for the Community Theatre programme at Uselu Market along Benin-Lagos Expressway, Benin City.
Activities for Edo State chapter will climax with the performance of Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki’s ‘Idia, the Epic of An African Queen’ at Wesley Hotel Hall, 75 Akhionbare Street, GRA, Benin City. Also tomorrow, Sunday, March 27, 2022 (World Theatre Day), there will be an award/gala night and the performance of Obaseki’s ‘Idia – the Epic of An African Queen’ at Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub Sound Studio, Observer Newspaper Compound, Airport Road, Benin City.
IN a statement, Mr. Eboh said, “That we are here today to celebrate is because we are survivors of Covid-19 pandemic, survivors of the many economic, social and political battles that we confront on a daily basis. To our brothers and sisters who in the last year lost the battle and took their final exit from the stage of life, we remember you and your service to the association and the theatre. Our applause shall continually herald your creative spirit.
“As we celebrate, we must recognise and appreciate the enormity of our task. As theatre practitioners, our function must be to educate, inform and be the conscience of the society using our ability to tell the bluntest truth through entertainment. In a nation that has today become morally bankrupt, we must use our theatre to provide bankable moral values that guarantee a better tomorrow.
“For every theatre of war in the North East, South East, North Central, Afghanistan, Ukraine, we most provide a theatre of peace. For every political flip flop that continues to take away our hopes, we must be strong enough to stop being the poster faces at their rallies, promoting their political incompetence and corruption.
“Our theatre must be the theatre of hope and truth that the nation desires. Our theatre must help shape and create a better Nigeria. Our theatre must help birth a new Nigeria that we will be proud to bequeath the next generation. We have the voice. We have the platform.
“As we celebrate World Theatre Day, it is our collective responsibility to ensure the voice of theatre is heard.
“Happy World Theatre Day!”