The new Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Akinsola Adejuwon, has unveiled plans by the troupe to organise special performances for Nigerian soldiers.
Referring to the psychological or healing power of drama, Adejuwon said the military particularly required watching such shows in view of the security challenges in the country.
According to him, the troupe will explore mechanisms to start staging performances for them in Abuja, so that, “when they return from the battle field they can, on some evenings, watch some performances and get refreshed. This will help to keep them in shape for other challenges ahead.
“We want to be out once a month as well as in each of the states of the federation with performances. We must also be relevant and our theme will address performance expression in a conflict environment such as military formations and barracks. We are looking at ways to synergise with relevant agencies within and outside Nigeria to keep the National Troupe productive and acknowledged,” he added.
Although Adejuwon came from a visual arts background, he noted that he had training and practical experiences in performing arts, which prepared him for the job.
He said, “My festival background at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and working with Professor Wole Soyinka gave me the push to do better as Artistic Director of National Troupe. In fact, when I worked with Demas Nwoko at New Culture Studio, Ibadan, I learnt set and scenic designs, among others. I lived with dancers and I ran a private music and performing outfit. My street credibility is great and I survived on art.”
Besides, he said at a press briefing at the National Theatre, Lagos that the staff he inherited at the troupe are very professional and efficient.
He likened his job to that of a coach and a scout, which, once he commands a good team, the task would be more or less a walkover. But that the troupe he inherited is to take one or two notches up, as he is conscious of the import and its responsibilities to Nigeria.
He, however, admitted that part of the challenges he had to grapple with are of funding and the fact that the troupe is currently technically homeless. The reason for the latter, he added, was that the National Theatre was being run as a business venture, which charges users all manner of fees.
He said, “If we have to pay for hall or stage during rehearsal and production, then we will be in a financial mess. However, my vision is that in a short while, we may not depend on funding from government, which is dwindling.”
A theory cum practically oriented Artist, Adejuwon, until his appointment as Artistic Director on September 11, 2014, was a Museum Curator of the Institute of Cultural Studies of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Osun State. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Design from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a Master of Arts Degree in African Arts Studies from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.