National Theatre holds maiden edition of public play reading

By Samuel Okocha, Lagos

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The National Theatre is hosting a new series of public play reading as a way to improve the culture of public reading and document work of Nigeria’s theatre and arts practitioners.

“We need to give serious attention to the documentation of our art and what we do and the first person to address this is ourselves,” the General Manager of the National Theatre, Professor Sunday Ododo, told dozens of art enthusiasts and practitioners gathered for the public reading in front of the National Theatre in Lagos.

Professor Ododo said; “Nobody knows it better than we that do this art. So it’s important that we pay attention in documenting what we do.”

The maiden edition of the public play reading featured the work of Dr Yomi Adegbamigbe, a playwright and teacher at the Department of Performing Arts, Adekunle Ajasin University, in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

First public reading
The playwright’s play titled ‘Justice to the Swine’ is the first public play reading to be featured in the series organised by the National Theatre.

At the public reading on Tuesday, various theatre arts practitioners took turns to read lines and dialogues from the play which addresses historical events that took place in Nigeria’s recent past.

“It speaks to our situation as a country and a nation,” Dr Yomi Adegbamigbe told Voice of Nigeria at the end of the public reading of his featured play.

He said;“It’s more like a docudrama and it takes us back to history. And explores the things that have happened to us and how we tried to manage it. It’s a wakeup call to Nigerians to rise up to the challenge of nation building and to put our nation on a new pedestal.”

Positive reviews
The public reading enjoyed positive reviews from the gathering and featured insightful comments from art practitioners who made observations and recommendations on the play.

Dr. Adegbamigbe said comments from the critic of the play would be factored into the final draft for production on stage and possibly other platforms such as radio.

The National Arts Theatre became the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria after its construction was completed in 1976 in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977.

The public play reading is part of a series of activities lined up to make the National Arts Theatre more accessible to art enthusiasts while showcasing various works of art practitioners.



Mercy Chukwudiebere

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