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National Troupe brings back Death and the King’s Horseman for Nigeria, Soyinka

Prof Soyinka (right) and Alhaji Lai Mohammed

AS part of its ongoing 56th Independence anniversary performances and in honour of Professor Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature 30 years ago, the National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) will stage one of his most performed plays, ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ on November 19 and 20.

Artistic Director of the NTN, Mr. Akin Adejuwon, explained that the Troupe is staging the play to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Soyinka’s Nobel Prize.

“Professor Soyinka became the first African to be awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. This is a feat that is worth celebrating and we have chosen one of his epic plays, which incidentally was written 40 years ago to celebrate the literary icon. Indeed, we find the play which has been acknowledged as one of Africa’s best book of the 20th  century fitting to celebrate this living legend and icon,” Adejuwon said.

He disclosed that the November 19 performance would be a command performance hosted by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while the next day’s production will be for a paying audience.

“We decided on the public performance and to stage the production in line with the minister’s drive for improved non-oil revenue generation through a wholly Nigerian cultural economy. The National Troupe hence showcases the play with a view to further fulfilling its mandate to promote and develop our culturally valuable performance products for both local and international markets,” he said.

The play will be directed by Mike Anyanwu and feature guest artistes and those on the books of the National Troupe.

Apart from the production, the Artistic Director disclosed that there will also be an exhibition reflecting Soyinka’s passion for visual arts on the two days. The National Gallery of Arts (NGA), is partnering the Troupe for the show which will showcase diverse materials on Soyinka, including a large portrait of the literary icon.

A special art stampede on Soyinka, in collaboration with the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA), will also happen before the public performance on November 20.