Abeokutaa — Prof. Bode Sowande, playwright has called for the inclusion of theatre arts as extra- curricular activity in schools as an avenue to regenerate Nigeria's culture and tradition.
Sowande, Theatre Director, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, made the call in Abeokuta on Friday at the opening of the 2012 National Convention of the National Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
He attributed the decline in dramatic activities in schools to the non-existence of boarding houses in public schools.
He said that non-residential students were compelled to ration their time and extra-curricular expression, such as theatre activities, to the barest minimum.
"If the educational system of both the primary and secondary schools do not absorb the act of theatre into the curriculum, we may never bring back the cultural festivals that were viable destinations in the school calendar.
"Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan, Cyprian Ekwensi, among others, are alumni of Government College Ibadan.
"In past decades, the school brought to its students, through extra-curricular activities, the best tradition of literary art and theatre practice," Sowande said.
In his address, the National President of NANTAP, Mr Greg Odutayo, described drama as an 'imitation of the life, culture and the practices of people".
He stressed the need to inculcate cultural practices into children through the inclusion of theatre in school activities.
Odutayo said the convention was dedicated to reviewing the association's constitution to meet the challenges of the nation.
"This year's convention will deliberate on ways of moving the theatre sector forward as well as bringing NANTAP constitution up to date," he said.
In his remark, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, Chairman, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, and Olowu of Owu land, urged theatre practitioners to be more creative by appealing to the creative intellect of their audience.