By Henry Akubuiro
As the Bankers’ Committee continues to revamp and expand the National Theatre of Nigeria, the high flying General Manager/ CEO of Nigeria’s premium Culture House, Prof. Sunday Ododo, Fsonta, FNAL, hasn’t rested on his oars, as he unfurled new creative initiatives to the public.
Recently, the management and staff of the National Theatre held a Special Roundtable on Corporate Partnership for National Theatre Programmes, Products and Services at Protea Hotel, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
Prof. Ododo said, while welcoming the stakeholders to the event, the event was meant for “…top echelon of carefully selected corporate bodies and individuals who we have identified as important to the new thinking of the Management of the National Theatre and its vision for a new modern National Theatre we can all be proud of.”
The Roundtable Engagement wasn’t by mere chance, he said, as it was a product of a well thought out blueprint he delivered during the National Theatre Workers Capacity Building which was held last week.
“So, having identified the major challenges of the most popular and iconic architectural masterpiece in Nigeria —the National Theatre — we devised ways of overcoming them for mutual benefits of the public—for whom we hold the National Theatre in trust — and the corporate world —for whom we believe there are numerous opportunities of collaborations and pecuniary partnerships,” he said.
Prof. Ododo, said the special Roundtable was holding at Ikeja because of the ongoing reconstruction taking place at its edifice in Iganmu, Lagos. Hence,” This Roundtable is a prelude to the new National Theatre to come and what we are doing here today is visionary as partnerships and collaborations we forge here today and in the near future are the arteries to supply the much needed impetus that will fuel our operations in the new National Theatre.”
Apart from the Workers’ Capacity Building workshop, which was organised in November last year, Prof. Ododo has, as part of his repositioning agenda, organised the First Festival of Unity in December last year; Public Play Reading and a Theatre Technology Training, both which took place last month, August.
Some of Prof. Ododo’s creative innovations were aimed to correct the wrong notion that the National Theatre was just an event centre. “It is also the home of artistic creations,” he noted.
Unveiling the rich menu the denizens of theatre would be enjoying in the months and years ahead, Prof. Ododo outlined the Open Theatre; National Festival of Horns and Flutes; Quarterly Public Play Reading; Publishing outstanding playwrights, National Theatre Academy; Talent Hunt Project; Sights and Sound of Durba; Festival of Royal Regalia; National Theatre Monograph Series and Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, Cottage Theatre Development Series, Digital Music and Studio Projects, National Theatre Radio, among others. He said Nigerian literature, film and music industries had taken the world by storm over the years.
Emphasising the need to fish out new creative talents, Prof. Ododo said iconic playwrights like Professors Wole Soyinka, J. P. Clark, Ola Rotimi, to mention a few, benefited from international grants, which explained why he was committed to encouraging outstanding talents in theatre to blossom.
Among those present at the event included Mrs. Olayinka Olajumoke, Dr. Edward Olutoke, President, Ikeja Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mr. Greg Odutayo, Chairman of R2TV; Mr. Tade Adekunle, Chairman, Keskese Advertising; Miss Bimbo Eso of Evergreen Musical Company; The General Manager of NAIRDA Limited; Mr. Bimbo Adegboye of VACC; Mr. Joseph Edgar, CEO, Duke of Shomolu Productions; and the General Manager of NTA Channel 10, Lagos.
Some of these participants threw their support for the new thinking of the National Theatre management, while also calling on it to liaise with the private sector to prevent these lofty dreams from dying and, too, with security agencies to effectively police the route leading to the National Theatre to win the confidence of would-be visitors to and fro the Culture House.
Greg Oduntayo, the Chairman of R2TV, and Miss Bimbo Eso of Evergreen Music Limited, who spoke in turns, were ecstatic with Prof. Ododo’s initiatives and expressed their readiness to partner with the National Theatre to make these dreams crystalise.
Rounding off a brilliant day close to the seat of office in Nigeria’s commercial centre, Lagos, Prof. Ododo told the gathering that he was happy with the feedback received from the participants, promising to work in concert with relevant stakeholders to transform the National Theatre soon.