OdodoThe Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA) is set to organize the maiden edition of meeting of All Professors of Theatre Arts in Nigerian universities, beginning from 1st-3rd November, 2015.

An email forwarded to Nico News, dated 17th October, 2015 and signed by the SONTA President, Professor Sunday Enessi Ododo, says the opening ceremony of the meeting, which aims at ventilating and garnering ideas towards perceived structural stresses in the orientation of the Theatre Arts curriculum and emerging policy thrusts, will hold at the Tetfund Building, Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja Main Campus on Monday, 2nd November, 2015.

The email, which states that the meeting will be addressing specific issues including the place of Theatre/Dramatic/Performing Arts, reads in part: “Issues to be interrogated here include: ‘domiciliarization’ (The NUC is of the view that Media Arts, Film, Film Studies belong to the Social Sciences!); the intent and content/orientation of the curriculum; in the case of film/film studies for which as at now, there is no benchmark, what should inform the intent and content/orientation of such benchmark/s, the specific nature of the production equipment resources with how to cue such into and/or derive them from the benchmarks.”

Another issue to be addressed is that of Theatre Arts-Industry interface, that, “Here, issues to be interrogated are the seemingly unspanable chasm between academic industry; the imperative for industrial attachment as one of the integral components of Theatre/Dramatic Arts programme; modalities for integrating the industrial attachment provision ( where it already exists) into the training structure of the ITF ( Industrial Training Fund) – which will, in effect mean that what applies to other industry-related disciplines will apply to Theatre/Dramatic/Performing Arts: that both students and supervisors on IT automatically become eligible for the statutory stipend paid by ITF.”

Also, the meeting is expected to come up with a template for professorial assessment in theatre arts, which will be in addition to what may be the general criteria of individual universities and a communiqué will be issued, which will form the basis for a dialogue with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).

Meanwhile, despite critical challenges envisaged, the leadership of SONTA remains committed to hosting the meeting and has assured of a secured accommodation arrangement on rebate with Cossy Resort Hotel, Plot 9/10, Customs Layout, opposite University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

In all, about sixty three (63) Professors of Theatre Arts from Nigerian Universities are expected to be in attendance while five (5) other known authorities in the theatre arts profession, including the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, an Associate Professor with Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) are scheduled to be observers at the meeting.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit