The Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN), Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, has expressed happiness at the body’s return to the stage and assured that it would contribute actively to the country’s development efforts.
Ahmed said this recently at the command performance of ‘Strings’, a folk musical drama written by Mike Anyawnwu and staged by the NTN at TerraKulture Arena, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking in an interview after the end of the production, the first by the Troupe in over four years following the refusal of the former Artistic Director, Tar Ukoh, to stage any play, Ahmed said he was happy that the nation’s prime performance body, was back.
He said, “I feel excited, elated that the National Troupe of Nigeria is back again because it is the cultural ambassador of Nigeria. We are supposed to, at every given instance, show Nigerians the path to glory, through dance, music, drama, and other performative arts. For the past six years, we never had anything like this. Today, we’re having a rebirth and I assure Nigerians that we are going to aid our development with the performative arts.”
Ahmed who admitted that the Troupe’s return to the stage wasn’t easy because morale was low when he assumed office, said it would not just entertain people.
“We are not just entertainers, we are development workers. We need to speak to our developmental issues. We all know our issues in Nigeria, the National Troupe will gear up to ensure that we use the arts to address those issues. Today’s performance is one of the ways because our children lost their history and ‘Strings’ is bringing back the history of Nigeria. It will enable our youth to understand our history and where we are going because they have a role to play in ensuring that tomorrow is better than today.”
The Artistic Director also disclosed that he had started moves to rectify his predecessor’s controversial decision to sack all resident artists of the National Troupe.
“I’m working with the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and Accountant General to ensure that by 2022, we can also get artists that are on board with us,” he said.