The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Temilolu Fosudo, son of actor and academic, Sola Fosudo affirmed the truism of this saying on Wednesday, August 3, when he won the fourth Beeta Playwriting Competition.
The young Fosudo was announced the winner of the contest organised by Beeta Universal Arts Foundation (BUAF) led by Bikiya Graham-Douglas at a ceremony held at MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos.
He won the N1 million prize money with his play, ‘Black Dust’. Paperworth Books will also publish it as part of the competition package that includes staging the play.
The young playwright, runner up in the third edition, couldn’t hide his joy for clinching the prize this time around.
“I feel great. I feel overwhelmed right now. I didn’t think I would win, but I did, and I’m grateful to Beeta for this opportunity. I hope to work with them more in the future to produce and publish the play; it has been wonderful. I was part of the shortlisted playwrights last year, and I was the second runner up. So to win it this year feels quite wonderful,” he said.
Fosudo also thanked his parents, who were in the audience, for their support. He appreciated his father for his support in walking him through the rubrics of the arts and writing, disclosing he has written over 10 drama scripts.
Ibukun Fashu was the first runner up with his play, ‘Beertanglement’, while Kalayingi John-Africa was the second runner up with her play, ‘Orchid’.
Speaking at the occasion, BEETA founder, Graham-Douglas reiterated her passion for developing young talent in the creative sector, with theatre as her forte.
She said, “We are pleased to be able to holistically impact the value-chain of the performing arts in Nigeria by empowering all players, writers, directors, actors, and other professionals in the ecosystem.
“At Beeta, we are passionate about telling contemporary organic stories and understand the responsibility that comes with this. It can be daunting putting competitions and productions like these together. Still, we believe it is our responsibility, and we are committed to continue doing so.
“We are often in need of supporters, partners and collaborations. That is why we commend Union Bank Plc and Shell for their continuing support over the years. We urge them not to relent and also enjoin other friends of the culture sector not to shy away from supporting culture productions like this.”
The corporate sponsors, Union Bank Plc and Shell, emphasised putting their money where their mouths are. They affirmed that supporting the contest was the right thing to do, not just as part of their corporate social responsibility but in standing behind art as an instrument of social change and boosting youth talent.
Some guests at the ceremony also commended the initiative. Culture journalist and advocate, Jahman Anikulapo, commended Graham-Douglas for her steadfastness in organising the competition for the fourth time in a row.
He said in a clime where darkness seems to be holding sway, it was heartwarming that people like Graham-Douglas were still shinning a light, “by pursuing the path of light away from the prevailing darkness.” He urged more support for her to grow the prize.
Filmmaker, Femi Odugbemi, outlined the importance of Beeta Playwriting Competition to include enabling young Nigerians “not just to tell stories, but tell god stories,” adding that “bad stories are not consuming us, but badly told stories.”
He noted that the contest is an excellent avenue to begin reinventing the storytelling wheel for the better.
The publisher and organiser of Kuramo Prize, Gbemi Shasore, stressed the importance of storytelling, saying, “I believe everybody has a story to tell. Bikiya is indefatigable in what she does, and this is important for the sector.”