Yoruba actor Dele Odule to boost theatre performances with N10 million

A Nigerian popular actor, Dele Odule, is set to invest N10 million in the production of a stage performance titled ‘Oju Kelekun’ (farewell to reproach).

Mr. Odule disclosed this on Wednesday while addressing the media in Abeokuta on activities being organised to commemorate his 40 years on stage.

The actor who is best known for his role in the 1993 hit movie titled Ti Oluwa Nilealso disclosed that he has assembled a team of seasoned artists from the academia and travelling theatre to make the venture a reality.

The 56-year-old actor also added that over a 100 cast and crew would spend at least 21 days rehearsing towards the stage performance, which is expected to hit the stage for its first command performance on June 12 in Abeokuta.

It will coincide with the day the late Hubert Ogunde staged his first performance titled ‘The Garden of Eden and the Throne of God’ in 1944.

Mr. Odule, who is also the President of Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Producers’ Association of Nigeria, revealed that the entire cast and crew are expected to assemble at Westgate Hotel in Ado-Ekiti from April 23.

He said, “I will also like to appeal for sponsorship because the play will be staged in Kwara State as well as all the South-West States. The command performance will be held in Kwara State. I have also decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my acting career with a stage performance of Ojukelekun, a social satire that I wrote. Professor Bakare Ojo, a foremost theatre practitioner, will direct it. Professor Bakare is the first Professor of dance in Nigeria and a former Director of the Abuja carnival.”

Speaking on why he is passionate about boosting stage performances in Nigeria, Mr. Odule said he was bothered by the fact that stage performances was gradually going into extinction following the demise of the founding fathers of Nigerian theatre such as Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo, Akin Ogungbe, Kola Oogunmola and Oyin Adejobi.

He noted, “Stage performances have suffered a lot of setbacks in Nigeria. But you will also agree with me that most of our late theatre legends made their names and fame through the stage and travelling theatre.

“It is therefore my intention to revive the culture of stage dramas as a means of empowerment in schools and major streets in the country. The idea is to bring back the lost memories. Our youth can then have an opportunity to choose a career in the arts through this form of motivation.”