Nigeria’s stage performance segment of the theatre and entertainment industry that had remained at the backstage would soon be given additional push.
Ace Yoruba movie producer and actor, Dele Odule is poised to boost the genre, and has earmarked the sum of N100million to accomplish the dream.
He said the money would go into the production and other logistics, adding that over 100 cast and crew would participate, and would resume at camp for rehearsals at a location in Ado-Ekiti from April 23.
The veteran actor disclosed this to entertainment reporters at the cosy Intercontinental Suite, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital during a press briefing last Wednesday.
He said the motive is to use the project to commemorate his 40 years as an entertainerý, adding that the maiden edition of the stage play is titled, ‘Oju Kelekun’(farewell to reproach).
Odule said it has dawned on him that the stage genre which gave birth to film production was gradually going into extinction after the demise of the founding fathers, which include Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo, Akin Ogungbe, Kola Oogunmola and Oyin Adejobi among others.
According to Odule, who is the President, Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), the play is intended to be staged in all the South-West States and Kwara, primarily as a command performance to the government of each state and later as a public ýshow to the populace.
He noted that the time has come for stage performance revival and that the onus lies on him now as a veteran to re-jig it.
“Stage performances have suffered a lot of setbacks in Nigeria theatre circle. But you will also all agree with me that most of our late theater legends made their names and fame through the stage and traveling theatre practice,” he said
Odule explained that the real commercial travelling theater, brought to the local populace through the streets as was done by the late icons are lacking today in the entertainment industry.
He revealed further that he has assembled a team of professional artistes both from the academia and traveling theatre practice to make this a good and entertaining venture.
“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 youth can then have a direct opportunity to choose a career in the arts through this form of motivation.
“In view of the above, I have decided to celebrate my 40th anniversary with stage performance of ‘Ojukelekun’, a social satire written by my humble self and will be directed by Prof Bakare Ojo Rasak, a foremostý theater practitioner, first Professor of dance in Nigeria and a former Director of the Abuja carnival.
“The combinations of these two groups will definitely bring about the originality in Nigerian theater. The practical theatre without theory is a child’s play while the theoretical theater without practical is an intellectual failure,” he said.
He disclosed that the cast 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.
The date also coincides with the date of the first staging of commercial theater in Nigeria by the late Hubert Ogunde in 1944.