For the first time in its 38-year history, the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF) is set to hold outside its traditional venue- a university.
From October 20 to 26, Theatre Arts students from 33 Nigerian universities will converge on the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos for a special edition of NUTAF being hosted by the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) in association with the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Students Association (NUTASA) and the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA). The National Theatre, MTNNG, Zmirage and Airriya are also backing the festival which debuted in 1981.
Explaining NANTAP’s decision to host the festival, its President, Israel Eboh, said it aligns itself with the desire of the Board of Trustees of NUTAF to expose the students to a more professional environment of theatrical presentations, particularly the technical aspects.
“This year’s special NUTAF also affords town and gown the platform to meet to deepen the academic and practice mix further,” he said. Eboh added that there would be workshops “designed to expose students to more high technology performance support facilities which, unfortunately, almost all our Theatre Arts departments lack.”
The Festival Director, Biodun Abe, and Festival Head of Secretariat, Charles Ukpong also explained that NANTAP was hosting NUTAF 2019 alongside the National Theatre to improve the interaction between the town and the gown and between Nutasites and ex-Nutasites.
“As the umbrella body for practitioners of Theatre Arts in Nigeria, NANTAP has the professional expertise to provide the platform for the achievement of the laudable ideas as envisioned by the NUTAF Board of Trustees,” said Ukpong.
On his part, Abe expressed optimism that at the end of the festival, participants would have had a unique and memorable experience that can help their creative work. “It is going to be one week of cross-fertilization of ideas on theatre tradition and contemporary theatre practice. With the workshops that we have lined up and the facilitators, I’m sure the students will wish that there will be no end to the special edition,” he said.
First held in 1981 at the University of Ibadan, NUTAF has since inception, held on a rotational basis among Nigerian universities. The last edition happened in June 2018 at the Plateau State University, Bokkos, Plateau State.