The African Theatre Association (AfTA), the umbrella body for Theatre Scholars of African origin, will from Thursday, 21st to Sunday, 24th July, hold its 2016 Annual International Conference on the theme, “Paradigm Shifts in African Theatre and Performance” in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A letter co-signed by Professor Mabel Evwierhoma (Convener of the conference) and Dr. Kwaghkondo Agber (Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, LOC), inviting the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who is also a Visiting Associate Professor with the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) to the opening ceremony of the conference, states that the event will take place at the Faculty of Management Science Complex, University of Abuja Main Campus by 2pm.

Also speaking in a telephone interview with Nico News, Professor Evwierhoma, who is the immediate past Dean, Faculty of Arts at the University of Abuja, disclosed that the conference seeks to address contemporary realties in Africa’s social, political and cultural situations, in particular.

According to her, the organizers of the conference chose the theme in recognition of the different areas of the Performing Arts in order to identify paradigm shifts in African Theatre and Performance and relate them to contemporary realities within the socio-political and cultural milieu.

Her words: “If this was the case in times past, it becomes imperative that we explore the same opportunity by looking at the Paradigm Shifts to forge a new vista to African Theatre and Performance in the next few decades to come. This will really help Africa as a continent and Nigeria as a country”.

The conference has as lead presenters, Professors Kalu Uka from University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Emeritus Professor Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka (Kansas University, USA) and Dr. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza (Makerere University, Uganda).

The sub-themes that will help achieve this target are: Trends in Playwriting in Africa, Movements and Developments in Play and Film Directing, Performance Theories and Criticism in African Theatre, African Theatre and Cybernetics, Emerging Trends/Perspectives in Scenography, Shifts in Gender and Women Studies, Nollywood and Identity Formation in African Performance, Technology and Film, Television and New Media, Social Media and African Performance, Ecocriticism and Theatre and Performance in Africa, Trends in Choreography and Dance Art, Issues in Theatre-in-Education, Management and Marketing of African Performances, Folk Performance and New Media, Concept and Practice of African Diaspora Theatre, Issues in Dramatherapy and Theatre for Development (TFD), African Music Aesthetics, and African Performance and the Audience.

It will be recalled that AfTA, at its 2015 International Conference at the Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA, unanimously chose the University of Abuja to host the 2016 edition o the international conference.

Nwagbo Pat Obi & Caleb Nor