National Troupe Gets Royal Blessing

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Mary Ekah
The National Troupe of Nigeria recently got an endorsement from the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, when the royal father commended the management, staff and artistes of the Troupe for putting up a spectacular performance in his honour at a reception organised for him by the Cuban Embassy in Abuja.

The Ooni who said that he was thrilled by the dance drama that the troupe put up to honour him described it as colourful, energetic and evocative performance.

‘’I was totally thrilled by the performance. The National Troupe should take this kind of performance everywhere. They should be on tour promoting and propagating our rich cultural heritage. I know funding is a challenge but I want to join my voice to the call for increased funding and attention for the National Troupe. They are propagators of our culture. I am impressed and we should do more to encourage the troupe and artistes generally,” the Ooni said.

At the reception held at the residence of the Cuban ambassador and attended by high net worth guests including the Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, the National Troupe staged a dance drama titled ‘Yemoja’.

The Director in charge of Drama of the National Troupe, Ms. Josephine Igberease, directed it.
‘Yemoja’ is a colourful and fast pace piece laced with chants and heavy drumming. The piece is designed as an evocative homage to Yemoja, the Yoruba goddess of the sea.  The performance of Yemoja for the Ooni typified the evocation that is usually captured in worships among the Yoruba in the Americas.  The performance inculcated the spiritual ambience quite commemorative of the candombie sessions common in Yoruba diasporic spiritualism.

But the performance in honour of the Ooni was just one of the performances that the National Troupe put up in Abuja. The Troupe had on February 14, 2016 –Valentine Day, collaborated with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the staging of a dance drama titled ‘Love Nigeria’. The dance drama held at Abuja Unity Square and it was focused on the need to promote patriotism and loyalty.

The Artistic Director of the National Troupe, Akin Adejuwon, explained that the dance drama was staged to complement NOA mobilisation programme series ‘Do the Right Thing Fall in Love with Nigeria’, which the NOA intends to prosecute from state to state.

Besides, the Artistic Director stated that the project aims at promoting the values of love and selflessness among Nigerians. ‘’Given the background of insurgency, regional agitations, religious and cultural proclivities which are currently affecting our national cohesion, the need to encourage citizens to use the pervasive ambience of love at valentine to reflect on the positive achievements of our nation and to encourage members of the public to show selfless love for our country even as we show love to our fellow citizens cannot be over-emphasised’’, he said.

The highpoint of the Troupe’s weeklong performance tour of Abuja was a performance at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abuja. The Troupe put up its touring piece ‘Murna’ at the IDP camp located in Garki and at the games village in Abuja. ‘Murna’ written by Mike Anyanwu and directed by Josephine Igberease, was conceived by the National Troupe to be staged as part of its IDP performance project which it flagged off in December 2015 with a performance at the IDP camp in Bauchi.

According to the Artistic Director, the IDP performance project is directed towards the encouragement, entertainment, reorientation and moral rearmament for the displaced persons towards returning home and educating them about the self sustaining opportunities possible through the performing arts.