Dele Odule to revive stage performance with N100m

Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta

One thing that is dear to veteran actor, Dele Odule’s heart is reviving the moribund stage performances, reminiscent of the old travelling theatre pioneered by the late theatre doyen, Chief Hubert Ogunde.

He disclosed this on Wednesday whie addressing a press conference in Abeokuta in commemoration of his 40 years on stageý.

He said he had written a stage play titled ‘Oju Kelekun’(farewell to reproach), which would be used to commemorate his 40 years on stage.

He explained that a sum of N100m would be needed for the project.

He said the play would be directed by a foemost theatre practitioner and first professor of dance in Nigeria, Bakare Ojo-Rasaki.

Ojo-Rasaki was also a former director, Abuja Carnival.

Talking about what propelled him into the stage performance revival project, Odule argued that movie/film production had almost pushed stàge performance into extinction.

He noted that after the demise of the founding fathers of Yoruba theatre, which include Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo, Akin Ogungbe, Kola Ogunmola and Oyin Adejobi, stage performance has gone into extinction.

He said, “Stage performances have suffered a setback in Nigeria theatre circle. But you will also agree with me that most of our late theatre legends made fortune and fame through the stage and travelling theatre practice.”

Odule explained further that he was set to hit schools, theatre halls across the South-West and Yoruba areas in the North Central, after the drama troupe must have done performances for state governments in these states.

He said, “It is therefore my intention to revive the stage drama as a means of commercial empowerment through the schools and streets and bring back the lost memories.

“Our youths can then have a direct opportunity to choose a career in the arts through this form of motivation.”

Odule, who is the President of Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Association of Nigeria, said he had assembled a team of professional artistes from the academia and the travelling theatre practice to make the project grand.

He said, “The practical theatre without theory is a child’s play while the theoretical theatre without practical is an intellectual failure.

“The combination of these two will definitely bring about the originality in Nigeria theatre.”

Odule said the era of white-collar jobs was gone in the country, adding that “the various departments of theatre arts practice, if adequately tapped could create job opportunities for the nation’s teeming youth.”

Later this month, he said, he would still call for an audition to shore up the cast and crew, who would spend at least 21 days rehearsing towards the stage performance which is expected to hit the stage for its first command performance on June 12 in Abeokuta.

This, he said, would be for the ommemoration of the 24th anniversary of the annulment of the freest and fairest election in the country. Copyright PUNCH.
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