As advertised the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ile hosted the third edition of the National Theatre Play Reading Series on Saturday 4th of June 2022 inside the Oduduwa Hall of the University; the first two editions had earlier been held in National Theatre, Lagos (August, 2021) and Nasarawa State University (March, 2022). The Play which was read is “Where Three Roads Meet” written by Jesutofunmi Testimony was the choice of the National Theatre Play Reading Assessment Committee. Indeed, the collaboration of the Headquarters of culture in Nigeria (National Theatre) and O.A.U Ife (Learning and Culture) produced a potpourri of breathtaking and captivating renditions of folklore, that evoked nostalgic feelings in the older members of the audience and excited the younger audience due to the fervour of the young performers which further enlivened the event. Three cultural troupes were responsible for these performances that brought the audience to its feet: Esin Oye Performing Troupe; Part 1 students, Department of Dramatic Arts, OAU Ile-Ife, and Fikayo Group of Schools. Involving the secondary school students in the play reading experience is an investment in the future which will no doubt inspire the next generation of creatives in Nigeria.
In what was a first of its kind the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede took part in the reading of the play text as well as the GM/CEO of National Theatre; a former Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Akin Adejuwon; Prof. Dayo Sowande (the Chairman of Deans); Prof. Jimoh Farinde (Dean of Agric Science); and Dr Saheed Amusa (Vice Dean, Faculty of Arts); the audience were thrilled to hear and see these men of letters as different characters created by the playwright with elocution suited to the interpretation of their characters.
At the end of the reading and “constructive deconstruction of the play text” the playwright was presented an award by the GM/CEO of National Theatre ably supported by the VC, with the proud parents of the 200L Jesutofunmi Testimony also in attendance.
National Theatre Play Reading is one of the Talent Hunt Programmes of the National Theatre an innovative approach to the preservation of culture in which “budding writing talents are discovered and encouraged” by the GM/CEO of the National Theatre Prof. Sunday Enessi Ododo, fsonta, fta, fsna, fana, FNAL
“Africa has a comparative advantage in the cultural sector” – O.A.U. VC
Recipient of the first National Theatre Leadership Award, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede has said “Africa has a comparative advantage in the cultural sector”. He stated this while thanking the GM/CEO of National Theatre Prof. Sunday E. Ododo, fsonta, fta, fsna, fana, FNAL and his management team for honouring him with the National Theatre Leadership Award being the first recipient ever in the history of the National Theatre. The presentation of the award was done at the 3rd edition of the National Theatre Play Reading Series which was held inside the Oduduwa Hall of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Osun State. Speaking further the outgoing Vice-Chancellor averred that by developing the sector where it had a comparative advantage i.e. the arts/cultural sector, Africa will lead while others follow instead of trying to beat the West in the sciences where the West has a comparative advantage. Though a man of science himself, he opined that the neglect of the arts by governments in Africa in favour of sciences was a strategic mishap and the results show that Africans were deliberately deceived to think that their cultures and traditions were fetishes and the same people who called our things fetish came back to steal those precious artefacts. Speaking on the significance of the National Theatre Leadership Award, the VC stated, “There cannot be another first recipient of the National Theatre Leadership Award, any other person to receive this award can only come second.” He added that at this stage of his academic career only such awards and membership in professional bodies can give him a comparative advantage which is one of the reasons he would cherish this award deeply. This is more significant in the context of the few hours remaining for the VC who bows out “in less than 72 hours.”The VC also paid glowing commendation on the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Muhammed, an alumnus of OAU, for his generous goodwill to the university.The Award presentation was witnessed by members of the school Senate and students who came to participate in the Play Reading
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