Theatre Arts troupes from 33 Nigerian universities are expected to converge on the National Arts Theatre Complex in Lagos, between October 20 and 26, 2019, for a special edition of the annual Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival.
The National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, in a statement made available to our correspondent, said this year’s edition of the festival is aimed at enhancing talent and creativity among theatre arts students across the universities.
The statement noted that for the first time since its inception, NUTAF, which debuted in 1981 at the University of Ibadan, would be hosted outside a university campus. The festival, it added, usually held on a rotational basis among universities in Nigeria.
The President of NANTAP, Israel Eboh, said the association agreed to host the forthcoming edition of the festival in response to a decision by NUTAF’s Board of Trustees to expose participating theatre students to a more professional environment of theatrical presentations, particularly the technical aspects.
He said,‘’ This year’s special edition of NUTAF will also afford town and gown the opportunity to meet and further deepen the mix of the academic and the practical.’’
Eboh also remarked that the use of the National Theatre would afford the festival, multiple events, and performances space within the same venue. He said, ‘’The entire festival, which is planned to host a series of workshops, is designed to expose students to more high technology performance support facilities, which are, unfortunately, non-existent in various theatre arts departments in Nigerian universities.”
Also speaking, the Festival Director, Biodun Abe, and the Head of Secretariat, Charles Ukpong, explained that NANTAP was hosting NUTAF 2019 alongside the National Theatre with the aim of fostering interaction between the town and the gown.
‘’As the umbrellas body for the practitioners of theatre arts in Nigeria, NANTAP has the professional expertise to provide the platform for the achievement of the laudable ideas as envisioned by the NUTAF Board of Trustees,’’ Ukpong said, adding that the official unveiling ceremony of the festival logo will take place on Friday, September 27 as part of NANTAP’s 2019 Fellows Investiture Dinner scheduled to hold at the National Theatre.
On NANTAP’s expectation, Abe expressed the optimism that at the end of the festival, the participating teams would have had a unique and memorable experience that would be of great advantage to them in their creative work.
‘’It is going to be one week of cross-fertilization of ideas on theatre tradition and contemporary theatre practice. With the workshops that we have lined up and the facilitators that will be taking them, I am sure the students will wish that there will be no end to the festival,” he said.
Founded in 1981, the festival has proved over time to be a veritable platform for cultural orientation and for enhancing talent and creativity among theatre arts students across Nigerian universities.