For his robust contributions to theatre practice in Nigeria, renowned playwright, theatre actor/director, film scholar, and astute cultural administrator, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), will be celebrated by Arojah Royal Theatre in Abuja, in what the organisation termed, “Festival of Barclays Ayakoroma Plays (FESTIBAP).”
The event, which starts with an opening ceremony on Tuesday, 12th June, 2012, at the French Cultural Centre, Abuja, and a guest lecture by Professor Emmanuel Dandaura, Head, Department of Theatre & Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, will be followed by performances of three of the creative works, between June 13 and15, 2012, as Arojah Royal Theatre will present Castles in the Air and Beyond the Camp, while NICO Cultural Troupe will stage Dance on His Grave.
According to Jerry Adesewo, the initiator of the event, FESTIBAP was necessitated by the need to honour distinguished theatre practitioners in Nigeria, Ayakoroma being one, adding that: “Dr. Ayakoroma has contributed immensely to theatre practice as a playwright, director, actor and scholar. He has written so many plays, which include, Dance on His Grave, A Matter of Honour, Castles in the Air, A Chance to Survive, Beyond the Camp, The Rejected Ones, Once Upon A Dream, A Scar for Life, All for A Canoe and Other Plays, The Golden Goose and Other Plays, and Our Future and other Plays.”
It will be recalled that unpublished works by Ayakoroma include: “Strangers in the Land,” “The Chief Engineer,” “A Night Out,” “One Wife Two Husbands,” and “The Odi Saga;” in addition screen plays, such as, “Master in the House,” “Castles in the Air,” “Hidden Agenda,” “No Hiding Place,” “Ikemefuna,” and “From Grace to Grass.”
Ayakoroma had engaged in many theatrical activities and his plays, A Matter of Honour and Dance on His Grave, are texts in the Junior Secondary Schools Syllabus in Bayelsa State, just as his play, The Rejected Ones, took the Second Price in the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) J.P. Clark Prize for Drama in 2003.
Adesewo continued: “You can agree with me that a man who has achieved all these is worth celebrating. And celebrating him is a celebration of Theatre Practice and the Practitioners in Nigeria. In addition to all these, he was former Executive Director, Council for Arts and Culture, Bayelsa State, lecturer in University of Port Harcourt, and at the moment, the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO). So, out of his numerous plays, we have chosen some to stage as part of our contribution to theatre development in Nigeria, which he has been in its vanguard. There is no better time to do this than now. You can agree with me that through his contribution in Nigeria, the world theatre is feeling Ayakoroma’s impact.”
He informed that Professor Emmanuel Dandaura, from the Theatre Arts Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, is expected to deliver a paper, where he will discuss, “The Theatre and Dramaturgy of Barclays Ayakoroma,” just as there will be Dance Performances by Afri-Theatre and other groups, exhibition of Barclays Ayakoroma’s plays and other performance photographs.