A university don, Mabel Itohanosa Erioyunvwen Evwierhoma, a Professor of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, who is also the Dean, Faculty of Arts at the University of Abuja, has called on practitioners in the Theatre profession in Nigeria to give women a chance to express their creativity in complementary contributions towards the development of the profession alongside men.

She made this call on Thursday, 21st January, 2016, while delivering the 18th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Abuja, at the Main Auditorium, Faculty of Management, University of Abuja, titled, “Mother is Gold: The Mater, the Matter and Women-Centred Approaches in Nigerian Drama and Theatre”.

In her lecture, Professor Evwierhoma, who decried the low status of female dramatists and playwrights which constitutes an imbalance when compared to the number of male dramatists, said there is urgent need for correction, adding that, the future has to be one of collaborative efforts by women in the area of theorizing women-centred drama and theatre.

“Currently, in Nigeria, the status of women academics in the world of theorizing women in drama and production of knowledge about women is not high. There are times I wondered why the academy seemed to be a male world without the dominance of, or even respect for complementarities.”

Evwer2“In Nigeria, the dramatic history is dominated by male dramatists. This dearth of female writers emphasizes the need for the few female writers to emphasize on women-centred ideologies in their writing. Through plays by women, female pride, femininity, bodily integrity, female dissent, remonstration and female perspectives are denoted and liberty for the female gender, sustainable livelihoods that ensure development are also upheld.”

Attributing the shortage of plays by women writers to age, education, gender, sex, marriage and the attitude of male critics, the Dramatic Theory and Criticism Professor said the onus lies on women as creators of texts to see inscription or writing as a very central feat that can advance women-centredness.

She further emphasized the necessity of female writing, saying female drama generates female reality as a creativity that originates from being birthed from the womb of thought of the woman, and that if women fail to write, they shall be absent from literary and performative history.

“Just as a mother can be regarded as a role model, female dramatists help to propagate a female identity that does not parasite on male identity. It is crucial therefore that those critical approaches to woman-centred creativity reflect the needs of the moment. If writers create characters as they are in real life, it would conform to a large extent with the concept of social reality,” she posited.

Professor Evwierhoma therefore called on the Management of the University of Abuja to within the next two decades, make the School of Drama and Theatre to focus more on the womanness of life and art, of academy and society, and above all, of continuity and change.

Evwer3Present at the occasion were the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Professor Michael Adikwu; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Professor Adegboyega Kolawole; University Registrar, Mrs. Swanta Rifkatu; Chairman, Inaugural Lecture Committee, Professor Bawuro Barkindo; Former Vice Chancellors, Benue State University, Makurdi, Professors David Ker and Charity Angya; President, Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), ProfessEvwer1or Sunday Ododo; former Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Professor Olu Obafemi; the lecturer who supervised Professor Mabel Evwierhoma’s doctoral work, Professor Matthew Umukoro and his wife, Dr. Julie Umukoro; and Professor May Ifeoma Nwoye of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, among others.   

The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was also in attendance, was accompanied by the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie; Acting Director, Administration and Human Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim Husseini, Deputy Director/SA-ES, Mr. Law Ezeh; Head, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Ogbe Herbert; Coordinator, NICO Training School, Abuja Centre, Dr. Regina Onouha, among other support staff from the Office of the ES.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja.