Nigeria, under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), is set to join the rest of the theatre world in celebrating this year’s World Theatre Day (WTD).
Initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on March 27 by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organised to mark the day. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962. It was first in Helsinki, and then in Vienna at the 9th World Congress of the ITI in June 1961 that President Arvi Kivimaa proposed on behalf of the Finnish Centre of the International Theatre Institute that a World Theatre Day be instituted. The proposal, backed by the Scandinavian centres, was carried with acclamation.
A recent statement by the National President of the association, Israel Eboh, said to celebrate the day, theatrical activities and advocacies would hold across the country powered by the various NANTAP chapters.
In Abuja, the FCT Chapter would bring theatre practitioners, government functionaries, the media and other stakeholders together as it commemorates the WTD with an evening of performances and talk shows anchored on the theme: ‘Theatre, an Instrument for Peace and Integrity in an Emerging Nigeria’, to be delivered by Professor Saint Gbileka of the University of Abuja.
The event is scheduled to hold at the community hall of the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture, from 4pm.
NANTAP Akwa Ibom Chapter, in collaboration with the state’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism will join in the nationwide celebration as they stage theatrical performances and a mini conference, focusing on highlighting the Symbiotic Roles of Security Operatives and Creative Artistes in Nation Building.
With support from the Delta State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, NANTAP Delta will host selected students from secondary schools in the state to a theatre workshop and lecture while there will be the command performance of Madam Miliki and the Suitors, a comedy written by Akpuh Alex and directed by Linus Osemene.
The Abia chapter of NANTAP would lead other stakeholders in the state on an advocacy walk on the state of theatre/art in the state.
In Port Harcourt, the Rivers State chapter of NANTAP would stage series of performances and talk-shop to commemorate the day.
The highlight of this year’s celebration will be in Lagos, where the NANTAP Lagos chapter, NANTAP National, the Lagos State Government and other stakeholders would combine forces to celebrate the World Theatre Day 2018 with series of events.
The Lagos leg of the celebration will include a press conference on Monday, March 26, theatre workshop at the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), capped by a special performance by the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture at the Freedom Park.
On the second day, March 27, there’ll be an advocacy roundtable on Developing the Creative Industry through Taxation at the Freedom Park by 11am and an award ceremony and command performance of The Marriage of Anansewa by the Ghana National troupe, from 5pm at the Recital Hall, MUSON Centre.
The participation of the Ghana National Troupe in Nigeria’s celebration of the 2018 World Theatre Day is part of ongoing effort to establish cultural exchange with our West African Neighbours and across the African continent.
Ogun, Benue, Osun, Imo, Ondo and Nassarawa would also be holding one form of events or the other to celebrate the World Theatre Day in what has turned out to be the biggest celebration of the WTD in Nigeria.