The Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), an umbrella body of Theatre Arts lecturers in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions is set to utilise its 27th Annual Convention and International Conference to show how theatre scholarship and practice could be used to address the problems militating against Nigeria’s democracy.
The Conference, which is dedicated to Professor Jenkeri Zakari Okwori, Professor Sam Kafewo and Dr. Martins Ayegba, three lecturers in the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, who died in a ghastly motor accident this year, opens on Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th August, 2014.
It will be recalled that SONTA and the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, were thrown into mourning following the demise of the HOD, Professor Sam Kafewo, Departmental Postgraduate Coordinator, Dr. Martins Ayegba, the Coordinator of Development Communication Centre (DEV-COM), Professor Jenks Okwori, and a postgraduate student of the department, Ayishatu Nana, in a ghastly motor accident, which occurred along Gwari Road, Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, while returning to Zaria after a Workshop on Theatre-for-Development (TfD) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The theme of the 2014 SONTA Conference being hosted by the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, is: Theatre, Creativity and Democratic Practice in Nigeria; and it will explore the concept of creativity and its place in the theatre to address sub-themes like creativity, theatre, performing arts, theories of creativity, the dramatic text, allied arts, democracy, theatre design, architecture, media, and gender study among others, to make statements on Nigeria’s democratic process and the way forward.
The Arrival and Registration of Delegates will be on the 26th, the opening ceremony is on the 27th, which will feature Art Exhibitions, Round table on the topic, “The Role of Theatre and ICT in Democratic Practice and Election/Information Engineering in Nigeria,” and Dramatic Performances; while the Keynote Speaker is Professor Mabel Evwierhoma, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja.
The presentation of papers in different panels will start on Wednesday by 5.30 pm with the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma chairing the first session on, “Theatre, Creativity and the Performance Arts 1;” while he will present a paper, titled, “Re-Inventing the Political Process through Nigerian Films: A Critical Reading of Teco Benson’s The Senator.”
Also among the academic staff of NICO, Dr. Oladipo Kalejaiye will present a paper, titled, “Wole Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialist as a Metaphor for Political Change,” Law Ikay Ezeh Jr. will present, “Impact of Creative Writing on Democracy,” while Nwagbo Pat Obi will be presenting, “Theatre Practice, Hypothesis and Theories of Performance in Africa: Ododo’s Facekuerade Theatre Model in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), Dr. Osita Ezenwanebe, has assured participants that Lagos State Government and the University of Lagos have made efforts in checking the Ebola disease, saying: “We urge you to get ready and attend SONTA 2014 International Conference in the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Akoka from 26th to 29th August 2014. The Lagos State Government is using all within her powers to manage the Ebola epidemic. Life in Lagos is normal. We are meant to be cautious and maintain a certain level of personal hygiene. The University of Lagos in her wisdom has resumed for the 2nd semester of 2013/2014 academic session. The university would not have done so if they are not sure as of the safety of students and the university community.”
Nwagbo Pat Obi