Story by Simeon Mpamugoh
The National Troupe of Nigeria will on November 19 and 20, 2016, at the National Theatre, Lagos, stage one of Professor Wole Soyinka’s most performed plays, Death and the King’s Horseman. The play is being staged as part of the Troupe’s ongoing Nigeria’s independence celebration performances and in commemoration of Professor Wole Soyinka’s 1986 Nobel Prize feat.
Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Troupe, Mr. Akin Adejuwon, explained that the staging of the production is more propitious because it is thirty years this year since Africa and, indeed, the world joined Nigeria in celebrating Professor Wole Soyinka’s award of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“Recall that Professor Soyinka became the first African to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. This is a feat that is worth celebrating, and we have chosen one of his epic plays, which incidentally was written forty years ago to celebrate the literary icon. Indeed, we find the play which has been acknowledged as one of Africa’s best book of the twentieth century fitting to celebrate this living legend and icon,” the Artistic Director said.
Also, Mr. Adejuwon hinted that the November 19 performance will be a command performance that will be hosted by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. However, he stated that the play, which will be directed by Mike Anyanwu and performed by some guest artistes and artistes of the National Troupe, will open to a paying audience on November 20.
“We decided on the public performance and, indeed, to stage the production in line with the Honourable Minister’s drive for improved non-oil revenue generation through a wholly Nigerian cultural economy. The National Troupe hence showcases the play with a view to further fulfilling its mandate to promote and develop our culturally valuable performance products for both local and international markets,” he said.
The Artistic Director also disclosed that the Troupe would mount an exhibition in honour of Professor Wole Soyinka on the lobby leading to the performance venue, while there are plans to host a special stampede in collaboration with the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA) on the second day of the performance.