Theatre Arts students from over 20 Nigerian universities have converged in Lagos as the 38th Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF) kicked off at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu.
The six-day festival, which kicked off on Monday witnessed a vibrant display of traditional costumes and attire with a mixture of colourful song and dance performances that reflect the rich diversity of the nation’s multi-ethnic groups.
The festival themed: “Theatre, Governance and Globalization,” which prides itself as one of the pioneer forums where young and bright talents from theatre arts faculties around the country, will perform and be seen by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, is sponsored by the MTN Foundation.
The organizers, the Nigerian Universities Theatre Art Students Association (NUTASA), which is also the umbrella body for all students in the department of performing arts in Nigerian universities, confirm three universities will perform daily.
Each performance will consist of a wide range of activities including drama performances, creative dance, stand-up comedy as well as workshops on creativity, costuming and stage design.
Speaking at the event, the National President of NUTASA, Egbemwonghaye Osazee, recalls that the NUTAF was established to “unlock the untapped talents in Nigerian universities and through them project the excellence of African culture to the world from the Centre of Excellence.”
Founded in 1981, and with only three schools – the University of Ibadan, the University of Benin and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife – in attendance, NUTAF has grown to become a staple on Nigerian universities’ events calendar.
The 2018 edition of the festival, which took place in Jos, welcomed 25 participating universities.
Our reporter learnt that some of Nigeria’s most popular actors including Richard Mofe-Damijo, Hilda Dokubo, Segun Arinze and Julius Agu were veterans of past editions of the festival.
Universities present at the festival include Plateau State University; Obafemi Awolowo University; Olabisi Onabanjo University; Adekunle Ajasin University; Federal University, Oye-Ekiti; University of Benin; Ekiti State University; Abia State University; Lagos State University and Gregory University, Uturu.
Others are University of Ilorin; University of Abuja; Egbinedon University; Lead City University; University of Nigeria Nsukka and the University of Calabar, among others.
Dignitaries at the opening ceremony were Yohana Izam, the Vice-Chancellor of Plateau State University, Directors of MTN Foundation led by Dennis Okoro, Members of NUTAF Board of Trustees led by Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, representatives from the Lagos State Ministry of Arts and Culture, among others.
Speaking on the Foundation’s support for the festival, a Director of MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro, said: “Our rich and vibrant culture, bequeathed to us by our parents will only thrive on the strength of the support that we provide to our next generation. The MTN Foundation is passionate about empowering young people to develop.”
NUTAF, according to the organisers, is supported by the MTN Foundation as part of its Arts and Culture initiative through which it has sponsored some of Nigeria’s most compelling art, poetry and theatre productions and the creatives behind them for almost a decade.
Some of the previous causes sponsored by the Foundation are Saroo, Wakaa, Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Jungle Story 2 and Legends, among others.