January 29, 2019

Coronation of a New King of Drama

By Fred Akanni, editor-at-large

Beeta Universal Arts Foundation, BUAF, will be coronating a new winning playwright this Wednesday, January 30, 2019.

In the middle of a busy work day in Lagos, the non-profit will unveil the winner of its 2018 playwright competition: the second Beeta Playwright Competition (BPC), at the Muson Centre in the Onikan Cultural Precinct.

At the grand finale of the yearlong competition, to be held at 12 noon on January 30, 2019, Ahmed Yerima, head of the four man BPC Panel of Judges, will announce a winner out of a list of 10 Finalists, which includes:  Shehu Zock-Sock, Rukee Ejigbo, Joshua Alabi, Ubonla Adenike, Abdul-Qudus Ibrahim, Kehinde Ademoye, Ekpeno Ukut, Kelvinmary Ndukwe, El Osas Iyalekhue and Elias Ozikpu.

The BPC media team did not provide a list of the shortlisted plays, but it says they were picked out of 348 entries from around the country

Bikiya Graham-Douglas, founder of BUAF

The BPC comes across as a competition anyone interested in Nigerian drama should watch closely. For several reasons.

  • Its head of judges, Ahmed Yerima, is one of the country’s most notable playwrights, an award winner in his own right, a Professor of Theatre, and former General Manager of the National Theatre.
  • The team that Yerima leads includes the Journalist and Arts critic Shaibu Husseini, Theatre Director Kenneth Uphopho, Veteran Actress Ego Boyo, Theatre Producer and Writer Ayo Jaiyesinmi, Publisher and Bookseller Ibiso Graham-Douglas.
  • Paul Ugbede’s Our Son the Minister, which won the last edition of the prize, was produced several times across the Country. It was produced twice at different times of the year at Terra Kulture and it travelled outside Lagos. “Our winner worked with the biggest Producers in Nigerian Theatre and has also been shortlisted for the African Playwriting competition”, BUAF says.

This year’s Finalists have gone through a training session facilitated by Yerima, Uphopho and Graham-Douglas at the Muson Centre.

“The winner stands to win a prizes worth one million naira, a publishing deal with PaperWorth Books Limited and will have their play produced by BUAF at the Terra Kulture Arena as well as a campus tour to selected universities across the nation”.

The competition is sponsored by Union Bank and supported by WAPIC Insurance Plc, NIMASA , Terra Kulture, Olajide & Oyewole LLP, British Council.

Paul Ugbede second from left received the award for the maiden edition of the prize.

Media support includes, Olori Supergal, Ynaija and the Guardian.

Beeta Universal Arts Foundation was created by the stage TV and Movie actress Bikiya Graham –Douglas. Its media handlers describe it as “Nigeria’s foremost organization focused on development of the arts, through storytelling, education and advocacy”.

They say that BUAF has created platforms for hundreds of young artisans in developing their craft through production, education and competitions and has also produced many plays. “One of our finalists Soji Cole who went on to win the NLNG Prize for literature for 2018”.

To attend the Coronation ceremony on January 30, 2019, please email info@beetauniversal.org or text +2348023130116.


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