The MTN Foundation is partnering with the Duke of Shomolu Productions to bring the historical play, Ibiom: When Doves Fly to the Ibom Hall in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on April 30 and May 1, 2021. This is in line with its consistent drive to bolster the efforts of stakeholders in the theatre industry with the goal to revive arts and culture in Nigeria while providing opportunities and empowerment for young creatives in the industry. The partnership also saw to the training of 500 youths in Akwa Ibom State in a one-week youth clinic for local talents on the various rudiments of theatre, facilitated by Professor Ahmed Yerima, former Director-General of the National Theatre, at no cost to the participants.
The play, which is produced by Joseph Edgar under the Duke of Shomolu Productions, features veteran actress, Ini Edo, and the erudite Prof Ahmed Yerima and is set in ancient Akwa Ibom. The producer gave theatre lovers a lot to look forward to when he described the play as, “A magical, deeply expounding story that is carved around the people of Akwa Ibom, but it pulls in the whole southern region in a kaleidoscope of over 54 dances that have been carefully crafted by master storyteller.”
Speaking about the role of the MTN Foundation in bringing the story to the stage and training local talent, Odunayo Sanya, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, stated, “As MTN Nigeria’s corporate social investment vehicle, investing in projects that promote youth development is one of our paramount goals. The theatre industry is one of the most viable platforms for young people to develop, find and express themselves creatively. 500 young people have received training on the rudiments of theatre in the one-week youth clinic organised as part of this project. In addition to this, several members of the cast and crew, as a result of this project, have an opportunity to be empowered, hone their craft and contribute to a vision bigger than them. These prospects are very rewarding to us and are some of the reasons we are always happy to support and associate with projects such as Ibiom: When Doves Fly that tell authentic Nigerian stories.”
The producer expressed confidence in the vision of the MTN Foundation to see to the renaissance of arts and culture in Nigeria and considers Ibiom: When Doves Fly a sure way to iterate the dignity of Nigeria’s past, while MTN’s vision is underway. “The idea of this project is to bring back to the front burner the dignity of our past as we prepare for the renaissance that is currently enveloping this country,” said Joseph Edgar.
In order to ensure the safety of the audience, the performances will be executed under strict COVID-19 guidelines. The producer stated that the Ibom Hall would only allow 30 percent of its usual capacity. The play will also be live streamed to a wider audience globally. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ibiomtheplay.com.
“We know how important theatre is to thespians and fans. While we love and encourage the thrill of theatre performances, we will never compromise on the safety of Nigerians. This innovation, which allows people to enjoy the play without the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, is a great one. We applaud Edgar for choosing to work with a hybrid of physical and online attendance to enable people enjoy theatre while being safe,” Sanya commented.
The Duke of Shomolu Productions has received clearance from the Akwa Ibom Hospitality and Tourism Board, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Akwa Ibom State and the Ministry of Information, Akwa Ibom State.