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    Pomp as FUOYE Theatre students, lecturers paint University Campus in golden colours

    By Wole Balogun and Salome Gabriel

    It was pomp and pageantry recently as excited students and lecturers of the department of Theatre and Media Arts (TMA) of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti painted the University campus in golden colours with an interesting and colourful event tagged: TMA Carnival of Plays 2024!.

    The event was a street carnival that featured a parade of the icons in the performances of 10 dramatic texts that have been chosen by the final year students for their project plays as well as the practical production workshops of the lower levels, under the supervision of their lecturers. The carnival therefore, partly served as publicity of the plays which have been scheduled for entertaining, educating and instructive stage performances from May 27, 2024 at the department’s playhouse on the phase two of the Oye main campus of the University.

    The streets of the University campus came alive on May 15, 2024, as a procession of beautifully costumed and creatively “painted” youngsters and middle-aged lecturers lined up, forming a pageantry which moved across the different axis of the campus. Curious and excited members of the campus watched with keen interest as they were thrilled to the ensuing entertaining songs, dance performances put up in high spirit by members of the procession. It was indeed an interesting and refreshing outing for the TMA department.

    The University media team had a chat with the department’s Acting Head of Department (HOD), Dr. (Mrs.) Tosin Koshinma Tume and other students and they shared their views about the awesome performance called carnival. We bring the excerpts:

    University Media Team: The Carnival idea is a novel development in the TMA dept, what inspired it?

    Dr. Tume: The TMA carnival of plays is an initiative of my administration to be a component of various courses in the department like TMA 808 and TMA 908 which is Culture and Tourism development for our Masters and PhD students. It also includes TMA 110, TMA 210, TMA 310 and TMA 406 which are Practical Production Workshops. So, the idea is to create a street party building on the icons of the plays that are being produced for the final year project plays and the practical production workshops.

    This year, we designed a concept whereby the final year students would have to direct plays and contribute to those productions according to their areas of expertise and specializations. So, we have 10 plays that will be going on stage from May 27, 2024 and the idea of the carnival was to publicize those plays using the icons of each of those plays. We grouped all our students into those 10 groups and they chose their own colours and play icons and designed a street party to publicize the plays .

    University Media team: What objectives does the department aims at achieving with the carnival?

    Dr. Tume: There are three particular objectives that we aim to achieve with the carnival. The first is to introduce our students, both at undergraduate and post graduate levels to the concept of carnival in practice . With the kind of programme we run in our department, we don’t just tak, we do. So, this carnival is part of the ways to show the students how it is done professionally. So that when they go out there into the industry, they are able to blend easily. They are able to know what is expected of them and what to do. It won’t be strange to them when they get into the industry and they are to participate in a carnival. So, this is to first and foremost, introduce our students to the world of carnivals and festivals.

    Two, like l said earlier is to create publicity for the plays . The 10 plays that are going on stage from the end of this month till the first week of June. So, it is to create awareness about those plays inside the University community for both staff and students to come and buy of our students’ tickets to watch those plays. The third aim of the idea of the carnival is to create more publicity for our department. To let the University community know the things we do. To make them feel our vibes and energy. These are the three main aims of the carnival.

    University Media team: How would you describe the students’ impression after participating in it?

    Dr. Tume: Oh!, our students are very happy, they feel fulfilled and they are impressed with themselves. You know, we had several short interviews with them after the carnival to know how they feel about it, and they are very happy. We are developing a documentary from the carnival and we are also doing a catalogue which will be made available to the University management and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, to document what we have done. We plan to make the carnival an annual event, and the next year’s edition is going to be bigger. It will be better planned and by the special grace of God, we will do better next year and there will be more robust participation and f the University community. We had students of Ekiti State University come to be part of us on their own volition and we are going to build more on what we have started.

    University Media team: What other things would you like to say about the carnival ma?

    Dr. Tume: First of all, l would like to thank our amiable Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina, for giving us an enabling environment to thrive. I want to say that the department of Theatre and Media Arts (TMA) has enjoyed robust support from the Vice-Chancellor . He has really encouraged us to do more and better . He comes to watch our shows. He is interested in what we do in our activities . He supports our students morally and even financially. We could not have done all of these if he had not created an enabling environment for us. You know, it is because he supports us that we are also emboldened to do more and better. We are encouraged, we are inspired, we are motivated to do more and better. I also want to thank specially, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (DVC) Administration, in person of Prof. Bolanle Tajudeen Opoola. He has been a father to us even when he was our Dean at the faculty of Arts and now that he is DVC, he supports us. If we need anything, he is always there. He would instruct me, saying Tume, write about anything you need. If we need power supply for a period of time in the Theatre so that we can have our practical examinations, he would say write, don’t worry. I’ll do it, and he does it. He always comes through for us. He was there to show support to our students during the carnival parade and we want to say a huge thank you to him.
    I also want to thank my colleagues in the department. My seniors, my mates and the junior colleagues. They are all very supportive. All of them have given me hundred percent support, and for that, l am very happy. That is why l am able to do all that we are doing . The Yorubas say: “ Enikan ki je awade!” Meaning in English that “ one tree doesn’t make a forest”. And whatever you see us doing is a collective effort , it is a collaborative effort from all of us at the department of Theatre and Media Arts. I want to say that the University should expect more from us because we are going to do more and better. Thank you.

    University Media team: You directed the carnival, please tell us about your contribution.

    Student: l’m Olugbenga Convenant Babatunde, a doctorate candidate of the department and the Director of the carnival. The carnival held between 12 and 2:30 pm. It is a requirement for a course that is titled Carnival and Tourism Development at the PG level . We started by looking at what and what do we need. The costumes, the face paintings, the vehicles and the entertainment and the parade, meaning how to move without stress and all that. We also looked at our budget.
    It is a carnival of plays, and we had 10 plays so each group for these productions came out with their main characters, that is the icons of their plays. They kitted in their colorful costumes and we had their dancers with their own costumes also as well as their group members and we went in groups for the parade. It was like a publicity of the plays for the University community. We are also spreading the pictures and shot videos we made on the event on the social media.
    Some of our plays include Philomena, Efunsetan Aniwura and Ola Rotimi’s gods are not to blame among others. So, part of our message to the people is that the future connects to the past and the past has affected the present and may also affect our future. We also use this carnival to showcase our cultural heritage as Nigerians.

    University Media team: You were part of the carnival as a student and lecturer in the department, tell us about your impression about it.

    Participant: l’m Mrs. Timi Hadiza Kayode, a lecturer with the department who is also a Doctoral Candidate. This carnival is the maiden edition and l want to use this opportunity to say appreciate our digital Head of Department, in person of Dr. (Mrs. ) Tosin Tume. I call her digital HOD because she is creative and full of innovations. As she came on board, she has been able to introduce a lot of new things that develop the department. This department serves as the face of the University. You know, we went out today and toured the campus and people from other departments came out to see us as we danced all around with our colourful costumes which are representing different African cultures and traditions as well as representing several ethnic groups in Nigeria.
    The students, especially the younger students were excited about the carnival. Some of them haven’t actually been part of a carnival such as this. They have merely seen it on television or merely heard about it . But with this maiden edition in which they actively took part, they were so excited about it and they want to see it happen again because they have been able to learn something in this because this is part of what they would be required to do after their graduation. So, now they have the experience.

    NB: Balogun is Special Adviser on Media Matters to the Vice-Chancellor, while Miss. Gabriel is a 100L TMA student with flair for journalism.

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