BOWEN students showcase talent on environment-focused play, EKUN OMI

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All eyes are on drama students of the BOWEN University, Iwo, as they stage EKUN OMI (When Water Cries) today Thursday and Friday.

The performance is the fruit of a collaboration inspired by Thespian Family Theatre & Productions, which is touring 12 universities on workshop projects that preach environmental regeneration.

The performance is preceded by a workshop that will take 2023/24 BOWEN students through issues in environmental protection and the relevance of theatre as an agent of socio-cultural change.

On the importance of the project, the Chief Executive Officer of Thespian Family Theatre and Productions, Mrs Ayo Jaiyesimi, says for over 20 years, Thespian Family Theatre & Productions has kept its passion aglow for community-focused initiatives that trigger social and behavioural change through visual storytelling. Its tools of engagement include using the performing and visual arts for learning, team building, therapy, advocacy, transformation and change.

Jaiyesimi added, “Our spotlight this season is on the environment, and rightly so… It’s the current buzz! Our community conversations this season are therefore focused on the environment; from rural -urban environmental issues, climate change and global warming, solid waste, water pollution, ocean acidification, clean air to loss of biodiversity.”

She adds that Thespian Theatre is taking a look at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all ‘by the year 2030’ and zeroing  in on the following as the basis for the conversations:

SDG (1) No Poverty

SDG (2) Zero Hunger

SDG (3) Good Health & Well-being

SDG (6) Clean Water & Sanitation

SDG (11) Sustainable Cities & Communities

SDG (13) Climate Action

SDG (14) Life Below Water

SDG (15) Life On Land.

She explains, “The environment plays an important role in our lives and we have an obligation to care for it and try to maintain an ecological balance in our planet’s natural environment and conserve natural resources to support the wellbeing of current and future generations.  In order to achieve this, it is important to understand the environment, be aware of our social responsibility and join in supporting and upholding the governance practices put in place. In essence, we will be preserving our tomorrow today!

“Despite measures, propaganda and never-ending news flashes on the issue of the environment, there is still a lot of apathy displayed by a vast majority of the populace, and this needs to be tackled. So, we have taken this personally. We are doing our bit to etch this all important-issue on the minds of the community and community groups through workshops, readings, stage plays, competitions and roadshows.”

Jaiyesimi, who had in the past, through the arts, successfully championed similar causes in family bonding, cultural regeneration and youth empowerment, believes this will positively reinforce government efforts and global interventions.

“The creative sector plays a huge role in social change as it is able to ‘paint vivid pictures’ of current situations, why there is a need for change, what change looks like and what is in it for all parties involved. The Performing Arts, in particular, uses live performances to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. We are therefore using a unique methodology for advocacy, and we are working with 12 universities in 2024/25 which we believe are apt to drive home awareness and social change.

“The 12 universities involved will do workshops to understand the environmental problems, create scripts or adapt scripts as their storyboards to showcase to their communities. At the end of the season, they will also showcase the discovered talents within the universities,” she says.

The theatre icon stresses that the project kicks off with BOWEN University Theatre Arts Programme which, together with THESPIAN Family Theatre & Productions, is premiering ‘Ekun Omi’.

Jaiyesimi says, “This brilliant piece of work, done in workshop with the 2023/24 Theatre Arts students of the university, will show on Thursday (today), May 23 2024, at the Chris Alabi Lecture Theatre, BOWEN University, Iwo. It will also be presented to the students of BOWEN Primary School and Bowen International Secondary School in the school hall of the latter school on Friday, the 24th May, 2024. Also, we will showcase ‘Ekun Omi’ to His Royal Highness, the Olupo of Olupona, the chiefs and invited members of Olupona community on Tuesday, the 28th May 2024.

“We are ever so proud to work with Dr. Labisi Adigun, Head of Theatre Arts Programme and Co-Project Coordinator, and Professor Rasak Ojo Bakare, the Workshop Facilitator, author and Director for the BOWEN Project.  He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Theatre Arts Programme of BOWEN.”

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