NTN’s 2nd dramatized storytelling competition refocuses for Nigerian Centenary

Posted: May 18, 2013 in arts/culture

ntn dramatizedThe National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) has announced readiness to host the second edition of the annual dramatized storytelling competition for schools this time incorporating schools in both Lagos and Abuja.

The maiden edition of the dramatized storytelling competition which is held in line with the National Troupe’s objectives of providing a platform for the discovery and showcasing of talents featured students from primary and secondary school in Lagos.

According to Director of Drama of the National Troupe and coordinator of the dramatized storytelling competition, Ms Josephine Igberaese, the competition which will coincidentally celebrate Nigeria’s one hundred years of existence, is being held this year to also complement the January 18th 1980’s resolutions on storytelling adopted by the conference on folklore held under the auspices of the Centre for Nigeria cultural Studies, the Federal Ministry of Culture and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to encourage the preservation and promotion of Nigeria folklore.

‘’Since the storytelling is the science of the survival of old beliefs and customs in modern times, and the study of ancient observances and customs, the notions, beliefs, traditions, superstitions and prejudices of the common people-this therefore is the task ahead of those intellectual gathering of students from schools to examine how the dictates of storytelling could be effectively utilized to achieve national integration through this carefully selected sub-theme’’ Igberaese said.

On his part, Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Troupe Mr. Martin Adaji noted that the competition which aims at ensuring meaningful communication of all aspects of storytelling, is also designed to explore how storytelling could be utilized to correct inadequacies of the youth especially in the age of technological advancement.

‘’I am sure with technology where with just a dash on the internet you can get all information you need, people will ask why story telling. But the facts are that our brains become more active when we tell stories. Whether it is a novel, a movie or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us, because they come in words and sounds, which are often by improvisation or embellishment. Since it is 100 years of Nigeria existence as a nation, the chosen theme cannot be anything but the unification or the act of bringing together the diverse and at times conflicting educational, social, political, economic, religious, ethnic and cultural element in our society into one single whole’’ Adaji said.

The Artistic Director expressed optimism that the programme will in the long run achieve its intended aim which is to ‘’re-organize and restructure our youth’s mindset to ward off destructive and insidious influences brought about by films, songs, magazines and telecommunication gadgets all of which becloud their young minds, ’’further adding: “It is for this reason that we have initiated this project as a way of helping to bring back our fading storytelling tradition”.

Billed to hold in Lagos and Abuja in the last week of May as well as the first week of June 2013, the competition, which is open to primary and secondary schools in and around Lagos and Abuja will begin with the preliminaries and elimination stages.

Like in the maiden edition, which was staged at the National Theatre, schools that scale the elimination stages will perform to a very large audience, which will include art patrons. Certificates of participation and valuable educational materials will be awarded to successful participating schools.

A statement from the Troupe also indicates that each school participating in the competition will be allowed to choose their own method and mode of presentation. However stories to be re-enacted can include music, drama, puppetry or any other visual element and must be related to Nigeria’s 100 years of existence, as well as teach morals that in our diversity, lies our unity as a nation.

In a related development, Dance Merchant foremost choreographer and Director of Dance of the National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Arnold Udoka has been elected President of the Dance Scholars Society of Nigerian (DSSN).

Udoka’s election followed a unanimous decision reached at the end of the roundtable conference and maiden meeting of the society held at the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos on April 28. In his post election speech, Udoka stressed the need for there to be an interface between academicism and practice in Nigeria. ‘’We want to approach dance in a way and manner that it becomes a major factor of the Nigerian cultural sector. We want to take dance beyond its perception of being just singing and shaking the body. We want to position dance as a crucial aspect of our culture and indeed as a major attribute of our Nigerian Cultures. We as a society have recognized that we have not exploited the potentials of dance to the fullest. We take dance here for granted and don’t consider its artistic or therapeutic value because we have them in abundance.

“I am happy that government on its own has tried to project to us the artistic values of the dance and that’s why I am with the National Troupe working on dance. Dance in Nigeria has a bright future and most young people are getting into it. What we should build now is how to move dance from being an all-comers affair to the professional realm where one can earn a living from dancing and as well contribute to the nation’s GDP,” Udoka who is also a published playwright and poet said.

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