By Sunday Okobi
One of the Nigerian leading theatre production companies, Thespian Family Theatre and Productions (TFT), has honoured veteran theatre practitioners for their unrelenting efforts in promoting theatre arts and entertainment in Nigeria.
The veterans, who were honoured at an event in Lagos recently, were Nigerian matriarch of theatre, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett; Poet, Odia Ofeimun; acclaimed theatre practitioner and former General Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and distinguished Professor of Theatre Arts, Kwara State University and the first African to be awarded the prestigious Thalia Prize by the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), Professor Femi Osofisan.
Also honoured were former Artistic Director of the National Troupe, Professor Bayo Oduneye; prolific Director and theatre teacher, Jahman Anikulapo; acclaimed writer, journalist, culture activist, actor, trainer and Chairman of the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA), Ben Tomoloju.
Tomoloju also doubles as a veteran journalist, playwright and Theatre Director who directed Ayo Jaiyesimi’s ITAN.
At the ceremony, the participants and other theatre lovers were thrilled to Ayo Jaiyesimi’s ÌTÀN stage play which was a rich blend of cultural and contemporary drama, music and dance, capturing the modern day relational tension between different generations.
The resounding message of ‘the oneness of man’ was excitingly projected and very well received by the audience at the shows that had earlier been staged at the Lagos Theatre Festival 2016 and then recently, at MUSON Centre in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, founder of Thespian Family Theatre and Productions, Jaiyesimi, commended the veterans for the exemplary standards that they had set. She also applauded the cast and technical crew of ÌTÀN (the story) stage play which thrilled theatre lovers through the shows from February to March.
According to her, “Theatre is part of Nigeria’s entertainment roots. It allows us to showcase our culture and amazing talents such as the actors that performed and the veterans who did not give up on the industry. I envision the Nigerian theatre industry being recognised globally for its originality and talent base in the next few years.”