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National Troupe stages dramatised storytelling competition for schools' Nigerian centenary in focus

Published by Guardian on Wed, 15 May 2013

THE National Troupe of Nigeria is set to host the second edition of the annual dramatised storytelling competition for schools. This time the competition will be held for schools in Lagos and Abuja. The maiden edition of the dramatised storytelling competition which is held in line with the National Troupe's objectives of providing a platform for the discovery and showcasing of talents featured students from primary and secondary school in Lagos. The competition is also being held to celebrate, Nigeria's one hundred years of existence. But specifically, the coordinator of the dramatized storytelling competition and Director of Drama of the National Troupe Ms Josephine Igberaese says the programme is being held this year to also complement the January 18th 1980's resolutions on storytelling adopted by the conference on folklore held under the auspices of the Centre for Nigeria cultural Studies, the Federal Ministry of Culture and UNESCO to encourage the preservation and promotion of Nigeria folklore. 'Since the storytelling is the science of the survival of old beliefs and customs in modern times, and the study of ancient observances and customs, the notions, beliefs, traditions, superstitions and prejudices of the common people-this therefore is the task ahead of those intellectual gathering of students from schools to examine how the dictates of storytelling could be effectively utilized to achieve national integration through this carefully selected sub-theme', Igberaese said.Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Troupe, Mr. Martin Adaji, says the competition aims at ensuring meaningful communication of all aspects of storytelling. Adaji said it is designed to explore how storytelling could be utilized to correct inadequacies of the youth especially in the age of technological advancement. 'I am sure with technology where with just a dash on the internet you can get all information you need, people will ask why story telling. But the facts are that our brains become more active when we tell stories. Whether it is a novel, a movie or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us, because they come in words and sounds, which are often by improvisation or embellishment. Since it is 100 years of Nigeria existence as a nation, the chosen theme cannot be anything but the unification or the act of bringing together the diverse and at times conflicting educational, social, political, economic, religious, ethnic and cultural element in our society into one single whole', Adaji said.The Artistic Director expressed optimism that the programme will in the long run achieve its intended aim which is to ''re-organize and restructure our youth's mindset to ward off destructive and insidious influences brought about by films, songs, magazines and telecommunication gadgets all of which becloud their young minds'. According to Adaji: 'It is for this reason that we have initiated this project as a way of helping to bring back our fading storytelling tradition'.Billed to hold in Lagos and Abuja in the last week of May and first week of June 2013, the competition, which is opened to primary and secondary schools in and around Lagos and Abuja will begin with the preliminaries and elimination stages. Like in the maiden edition, which was staged at the National Theatre, schools that scale the elimination stages will perform to a very large audience, which will include art patrons. Certificates of participation and valuable educational materials will be awarded to successful participating schools. A statement from the Troupe also indicates that each school participating in the competition will be allowed to choose their own method and mode of presentation.However, stories to be re-enacted can include music, drama, puppetry or any other visual element and must be related to Nigeria's 100 years of existence, as well as teach morals that in our diversity, lies our unity as a nation.
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