Prof. Sunday Ododo, General Manager, National Arts Theatre, Lagos, on Wednesday disclosed that the National Theatre Radio has been licensed to operate by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). Ododo, elated with the development, made the disclosure during a stakeholders’ dialogue in Lagos. The theme of the dialogue is “National Theatre as a Business Enterprise-Critical Stakeholders Dialogue”. “I am happy to announce that the National Broadcasting Commission granted the National Theatre Radio a broadcasting licence on Sept. 28, 2021. “The Radio will be operating soon to project our programmes and artistic contents,” he said.
Ododo assured the Nigerian theatre practitioners of some exclusive interest preserved for them as they patronise the National Theatre to exhibit to their creative contents. He said this is because the practitioners are considered as core stakeholders of the industry. He noted that upon the completion of the renovation process of the National Theatre, these practitioners will be able to enjoy such exclusive interest as they patronise the National Theatre to showcase their contents. “As Nigerian theatre Practitioners, you are going to enjoy certain interest exclusively preserved for you because we consider you as stakeholders.“ We want the National Theatre to be a beehive of activities with stakeholders. We want to begin to function on our mandate to present, preserve and promote Nigeria’s image and no other organisation can do that except the National Theatre,” he said.
The General Manager noted that play wrights like Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, Hubert Ogunde, received support from foundations to research the culture of their people to come up with indigenous classics which are still relevant today. He said a wide gap exists between now and Soyinka’s era of play writing, presentation and now, in terms of play creation. He said the National Theatre would see to how the lives of Nigerian artists is improved through showcasing their works. “Our ambition is also to touch on the lives of artists, to create the enabling environment for their businesses to thrive, create platforms to exhibit their contents and make them have some economic benefits through exploration of their talents.“ Unfortunately, the problem in Nigeria today has to do with social inclusion and poverty so we are trying to play a significant role in promoting social inclusion and eradicate poverty.
“We need to step up, today, nothing sells like culture and we have that in abundance in Nigeria.” National Theatre has not been playing the role of improving on the artists, their arts, and residency programmes, with the new national theatre, rooms will be created for such and artists would have the opportunities to latch on,” he said. Ododo noted that one of the programmes of the organisation, public play reading, would be taken to a different level at tertiary institutions so that individuals can start placing value on that aspect of art. “Any play read and presented in the National Theatre, we will take up the publication of such plays.“ This conversation today will give us the pathway for the new National Theatre such that when the revamping process is completed, there would be enough content to showcase.
“Our indigenous artistry needs to be showcased, so we need to work as partners to make progress,” he said. Ododo disclosed that the National Theatre is involved with sponsors for corporate partnership for its programmes: talent hunt, open theatre series, exhibition of Nigerian royal regalia, skill acquisition academy and more. He noted that even with the ongoing renovation of the National Theatre edifice, stakeholders could still patronise the National Theatre as it has improvised with the use of marquee for continuation in their services. “We are in the shadow of the ongoing renovation, revamping and the rehabilitation of the National Theatre but the new National Theatre is more than the edifice undergoing rehabilitation.“ The events we have lined up show that it will be a mobile theatre and the ongoing renovation is not a hindrances to our vision because with a marquee, we are set to continue running out programmes. “You are free to bring your events to the National Theatre again as your support is crucial to the success we envision,” he said.