A statement by Dr. Tunde Awosanmi, head of the Department of Theatre Arts, the University of Ibadan disclosed that in recognition of Soyinka’s global status as a writer-activist and as the first African Head of the department, its Arts Theatre has been named after Professor Wole Soyinka.
The renaming of the Arts Theatre as the Wole Soyinka Theatre will be made official at an unveiling scheduled for Tuesday.
“The Council and Senate of the University of Ibadan have decided to rename the Arts Theatre of the University after Professor Wole Soyinka,’ Awosanmi said.
“This is in recognition of his global status as a writer-activist and also the first African Head of the Department of Theatre Arts which was founded in 1963. To be renamed Wole Soyinka Theatre, the unveiling, which has been combined with the 2nd Geoffrey Axworthy Lecture, instituted in honour of Geoffrey Axworthy, the founding Head of the Department of Theatre Arts., has been scheduled to hold on Tuesday 31st July, 2018.
“The Arts Theatre is a very historical structure. Apart from being one of the oldest buildings in the University, having been constructed in 1955 with a generous grant from the Rockefella Foundation, it has assisted — being a major laboratory to the Department — in producing an enoumous size of human resource for the Nigerian nation’s and indeed, Africa’s creative and culture industry, not to talk of the media, civil service, banking, oil and gas, etc. sectors. It is no doubt the oldest institutional theatre in Nigeria and most likely in Africa since the Department which it houses is the oldest on the African continent.
‘Following the unveiling immediately is the Geoffrey Axworthy Lecture by Professor Ahmed Yerima of the Redeemers University. The first in the series of the lecture was delivered in 2013 by Professor Wole Soyinka on the occassion of the 50 Years anniversary of the Department of Theatre Arts. The general public, especially old students of the Department, are invited to the occassion which has been designed to be a part of the University’s 70 Years Anniversary.’
Soyinka was a student of the University of Ibadan between 1952 and 1954. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.