Unibadan Renames Theatre Arts After Soyinka
The management of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan has renamed its Arts Theatre after Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and the Practical Theatre as Geoffrey Axworthy studio.
It was learnt that Soyinka was the founding head when the school was transformed into a full Department of Theatre Arts in 1970 while Axworthy was the founding Director of the School of Drama of the institution in 1962.
Speaking at the unveiling of the theatre, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, said the event marked a major landmark in the history of the university.
The vice-chancellor said the two iconic figures had played significant roles in the development of the department and the growth of performing arts in the country.
According to him, the quest to rename the theatre after Soyinka received the approval of the Senate at its meeting in October 2017.
“But the honour being conferred on Prof. Wole Soyinka today belongs to a special class.
“Not only is he being honoured during his lifetime, he is physically present to receive it in good health of body and mind,” he said.
According to him, the theatre was constructed in 1956 to provide a forum for performances and other forms of entertainment.
“Now that the Arts Theatre is being renamed, we are hopeful that the new vision for Wole Soyinka Theatre will be realised sooner than later with the active support of benevolent philanthropists and well-meaning corporate organisations, “he said.
In his address, the Head, Theatre Arts Department , Prof. Matthew Umukoro stated that re-naming the Arts Theatre after Prof. Soyinka was a fitting tribute to one who has brought much honour and glory to the Department and the University of Ibadan, pointing out that Soyinka has become a global icon for scholarship and creativity.
“Our vision has been to see the Arts Theatre transform into Wole Soyinka Theatre, expanded and modernized to meet the technical and technological challenges of twenty-first century. We intend to take the dream further by launching a Wole Soyinka Theatre Endowment Fund to raise the capital required for actualizing our goal”, Prof. Umukoro disclosed.
According to him, “we are also happy that Geoffrey Axworthy, the literary mentor of Wole Soyinka is also being doubly honoured with the renaming of the Practical Theatre as Geoffrey Axworthy Studio”
In his remarks, Soyinka said he was happy to be in the university, adding that he was in a familiar environment with lots of memories.
“This is a place of memories for me, I also felt contented co-honouring me with Geoffrey Axworthy who fought so hard to make the department what it is today.
“It is very easy to forget pioneer, but I have to say that our successors here have a sense of history, so, I must thank you all for this, “he said.
The Nobel Laureate, however, urged the lecturers and students of the department to continue to make it great with creative production.
“You all should try and have fun like we used to and continue to make the department great with creative productions,” he said.