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University of Ibadan to rename its Arts Theatre ‘Wole Soyinka Theatre’

Valentine Chinyem



The Arts Theatre of the University of Ibadan, has been renamed after Professor Wole Soyinka, an alumnus of the institution.

The Arts Theatre which will now be known as ‘Wole Soyinka Theatre’, is scheduled to be unveiled officially on Tuesday 31, July.

This was made known in a statement by Dr. Tunde Awosanmi, head of the Department of Theatre Arts.

He said Wole Soyinka was not just an alumnus of the great institution but also the first African Head of the Department of Theatre Arts in UI. While citing his global status as a rights activist and Nobel Laureate as other reasons, which made Soyinka ideal.

Invitation to the renaming ceremony

“The Council and Senate of the University of Ibadan have decided to rename the Arts Theatre of the University after Professor Wole Soyinka,’ Awosanmi said.

“This is in recognition of his global status as a writer-activist and also the first African Head of the Department of Theatre Arts which was founded in 1963. To be renamed Wole Soyinka Theatre, the unveiling, which has been combined with the 2nd Geoffrey Axworthy Lecture, instituted in honour of Geoffrey Axworthy, the founding Head of the Department of Theatre Arts., has been scheduled to hold on Tuesday 31st July, 2018.

“The Arts Theatre is a very historical structure. Apart from being one of the oldest buildings in the University, having been constructed in 1955 with a generous grant from the Rockefella Foundation, it has assisted — being a major laboratory to the Department — in producing an enoumous size of human resource for the Nigerian nation’s and indeed, Africa’s creative and culture industry, not to talk of the media, civil service, banking, oil and gas, etc. sectors. It is no doubt the oldest institutional theatre in Nigeria and most likely in Africa since the Department which it houses is the oldest on the African continent.

‘Following the unveiling immediately is the Geoffrey Axworthy Lecture by Professor Ahmed Yerima of the Redeemers University. The first in the series of the lecture was delivered in 2013 by Professor Wole Soyinka on the occassion of the 50 Years anniversary of the Department of Theatre Arts. The general public, especially old students of the Department, are invited to the occassion which has been designed to be a part of the University’s 70 Years Anniversary.”

Wole Soyinka circled in red with his peers in UI

Wole Soyinka was a student of the pioneer between 1952 and 1954, where he studied English literature, Greek, and Western history, before moving to Leeds under a scholarship to continue his studies.