Professor Babatunde Allen Bakare's 'Utopian Resemblance in Some Selected Henrik Ibsen's Prose Plays' is one of the works from around the world accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming Association of Nordic Theater Scholars (ANTS) Conference at the Stockholm University, from September 30 to October 2, 2021.
The Conference will feature 40 papers and a panel discussion by artists, with a theme: Utopia and Performance. ANTS is the force driving theater performance and research under the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Theatre and Dance Studies in the Swedish University.
Professor Bakare has also been invited to a symposium: 'Transnational Screen Media Practices: Safeguarding Cultural Heritage', at the University of Regina, Canada. According to the organizers, the event “focuses on current Mexican, Moroccan, and Canadian practices of screen media as cultural heritage. It brings together scholars, media artists, cultural practitioners, industry funders and policymakers from three different areas of the world grappling with common issues around the safeguarding, presentation, and documentation of cultural heritage in the domain of screen media”.
"We wish to propose a reflection on current debates around living cultural heritage and identity politics in globalizing cultures, political and cultural sovereignty, control of representation in image production, and modes of resistance to colonialism", the organizers said on their website.
A faculty member at the English Language and Literature Department, Prof. Babatunde Allen Bakare directed the drama, 'Man Talk, Woman Talk'; written by Professor Ola Rotimi and performed by students under the aegis of the AUN Theater Club on Sunday, June 13, and Monday, June 14, 2021, to reawaken the theater culture in AUN. He is conversant with Henrik Ibsen's works; having travelled to the University of Oslo in 2004 to study the famous Norwegian playwright who is also considered by some scholars as the 'Father of Realism'. He obtained his PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies in 2018 from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
A Passion for Theater
Professor Babatunde Allen Bakare lives and breathes theater and believes in the power of the Dramatic Arts in helping students discover and develop their critical thinking and cognitive skills. A former producer/scriptwriter for African Independent Television (AIT), Prof. Bakare has staged over twenty major plays in Nigeria and abroad, including some notables like Obaseki by Don Pedro Obaseki, Wedlock of the gods by Zulu Sofola, A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen, Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels by Femi Osofisan, and The gods Are Not to Blame by Ola Rotimi.
Critical thinking and the Arts find a convergence in the AUN academic experience.
"AUN students are super-talented, and I am very sure that many of them have the potential to become our new brand ambassadors within and outside Nigeria.
"As a liberal arts institution that inculcates critical thinking in students, AUN can create a vibrant theater and drama study/curriculum that can engage our students through Performing Arts/Creative Arts as well as Music and Applied and Fine Arts.
"Here, I also teach or co-teach courses in the Communication & Multimedia (CMD) Department this semester, namely: Cinematography, Film, Radio and Television Production, directing in Media and lastly, Announcing and Performance and all my students are at the verge of submitting their practical works at the moment. You will be amazed by the quality of what AUN Media students can do in terms of media productions of all sorts.
"We have talents. What we need to do is provide a conducive atmosphere for students to thrive".
On Staging ‘Man Talk, Woman Talk'
Professor Bakare believes that staging the play, 'Man Talk, Woman Talk', written and directed by Ola Rotimi (with Olugbenga Jacobs as the Stage Manager), showcases what AUN students are capable of.
"The production of this play has naturally triggered the artistic and creative interest and talent of our students. We must know that our students have a lot of energy and want to express lots of issues and situations. Expression through creativity helps them develop into better individuals for AUN, Adamawa State, Nigeria, Africa and the world.
"Traditionally, Theater and Drama are capable of and are potent tools for settling disputes, proffer and provide resolutions. This is why we have Applied Theatre, formerly known as Theatre and Drama for Development. Theater and Drama were used in the 1990s during the Ife and Modakeke war. With the intervention of my teacher, the-then Dr. Bakare Ojo Rasaak (now Prof. Bakare Ojo-Rasaak, and current Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Ekiti-State) and the Federal Government (under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo), a play tilted 'Drums of War' was directed and in which I fully participated. With this intervention, the two communities were reunited, and peace returned, as the people again saw an urgent need to co-exist.
"When I joined the University, I noticed that students' social life was almost non-existent. It was so because of the COVID-19 protocols. But even countries where more casualties were recorded have moved on. The latest narrative is that COVID-19 is here already, and there is not much we can all do other than learn how to live with it.
"We must all abide by the rules and regulations that medical experts have outlined. However, there are ways we can produce theater production that can benefit the lives of our students, staff and faculties".
Reported by Our Staff