The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has endowed a prize for playwriting for theatre arts students in Nigerian Universities.

Stating this during the post mortem (review) of various play productions at the just concluded Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF), at Theatre Arts Hall, Ekehuan Campus, University of Benin, Edo State, the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of NUTAF, Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, said the prize was for the Best Playwright in NUTAF.

NUTAF is a theatre festival organized annually by the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Students Association (NUTASA), the umbrella body of all students of theatre/dramatic/performing arts in Nigerian universities.

Prof. Dandaura said: “It will interest you to know that a prize has been endowed for the “Best Playwright in NUTAF” by the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma. The idea is to promote excellence in Nigerian theatre practice through playwriting. So, you are urged to come up with good plays that will be captivating. Apart from playwriting, we are urging people to endow prizes in other areas of the theatre. By this, we are urging you to take NUTAF very seriously. It is an event that will grow bigger than what we are looking at now. For now, we will select Best Actors and Actresses among the participating schools.”

Reacting to this, some former members of NUTASA, referred to as Ex-NUTASites, applauded Prof. Ayakoroma’s gesture at endowing the playwriting prize.

A former NUTASA President, John Ndanusa Amihere, said it is worthy of commendation that such a prize is endowed, and urged the students to use the opportunity very well, recalling that it was one of the objectives of the festival that students develop their skills in different areas of theatre practice where they are talented.

“I must urge you to make sure that the scripts of these plays are available, so that they will be published subsequently. All areas of the theatre should be explored by all of you, so that you develop in the areas that you are good in,” he said.

On his part, Patrick Okoye from Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State, also called on the students to use the opportunity offered by NUTAF to develop themselves; while Nwagbo Patrick Obi of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Abuja, commended Ayakoroma, saying that the award will boost the status of student playwrights, recalling that NUTAF had helped in the past to develop many notable playwrights in Nigeria.

Sixteen universities out of nineteen that registered were present at the event, including, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT); University of Jos (UNIJOS); University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN); Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI); Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka; Niger Delta University (NDU), Amassoma; Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK); Plateau State University, Bokkos; and the host, University of Benin (UNIBEN).

Nwagbo Pat Obi
NICO Training School
Abuja Study Centre