Formerly known as the Arts Theatre until 2018 when it was renamed after Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who was the first African head of the department founded in 1963, the oldest institutional laboratory for training human resource in the media, creative and culture industry, was only recently given a facelift, courtesy media mogul, Otunba Deji Osibogun, an old student, after 15 years of physical decline and lull in patronage. The theatre which has played host to several plays,drama,comedy and other art inclined shows has been the testing ground for great art practitioners have emerged from.
Now, the previous decrepit lighting and cooling systems within the ambience of the facility have been restored and are now functioning, while the basement, toilets and water supply were also renovated with two overhead water tanks installed along with a borehole. A carved bold lettering of ‘Wole Soyinka Theatre’ now also adorns the frontage as the new signboard!
On the opening night, tagged: ‘An Evening at the Theatre’, which was also used to celebrate Osibogun’s 65th birthday, legendary Solanke with a band consisting of old colleagues including saxophone virtuoso, Anjola Aboderin; Bisi Ogubadejo (The Guardian cartoonist); Tunde Fagbenle; Howard University-trained Gboyega Adelaja; Tunde Adegbola; and Osibogun himself, thrilled the audience with special renditions from his repertoire of popular folk songs including Baba Eni Joye and Tunji Oyelana’s Eniyan Bi Aparo Lomo Araye N’Fe. The crew also re-enacted the heydays, performing tunes like Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Palaver and Hubert Ogunde’s Awolowo Ajagunmale, Yoruba Ronu, with a mishmash of soul and ‘twist’ songs.
The artistes performed to a full house including UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka; Emeritus Professor of Drama, Femi Osofisan; former Artistic Director, National Troupe, Bayo Oduneye; TV drama series and broadcasting expert, Laolu Ogunniyi, Mrs. Adeola Osibogun, members of the academic community and invited dignitaries.