Vital Years Secondary School, Zaria, Kaduna State, has emerged the winner of the maiden edition of the MTN Foundation Theatre for Schools Competition organised for secondary schools across Nigeria.
The Theatre for Schools Competition is an initiative of the social investment vehicle of MTN, the MTN Foundation. It represents one of the three focus areas of its sustainability initiative. With a focus on Arts and Culture, the initiative is aimed at creating a platform for students to build capacity in the performing arts, stimulating public interest in Nigerian Arts and Culture as well as encourage the adoption of theatre from an early age by talented young Nigerians. To achieve the level of impact required in the arts and culture space, MTN Foundation is determined to continuously explore secondary school-level development of Arts and Culture.
The maiden edition of the Competition which drew participants from secondary schools across the country had its regional competitions in Ibadan, Zaria and Port-Harcourt respectively. Idikan Baptist Comprehensive College of Ibadan emerged regional champion from the Ibadan zone while Nigeria Navy Secondary School of Port-Harcourt were the regional winners for that zone. The eventual national winner, Vital Years Secondary School, emerged from the Zaria zone.
Accompanied by their respective coaching teams, the regional teams arrived Lagos to compete for the one million Naira (N1,000,000.00) prize money. The keenly contested final saw a great display of budding talents from the young aspiring actors. The judges were made-up of seasoned theatre practitioners like Bimbo Manuel, Tina Mba, Afeez Oyetoro, Kemi Lala Akindoju and Patrick Jude Ote who is the artistic director of the Jos Repertory Theatre. Vital Years Secondary School’s Divine Auta emerged the best male thespian, while Abioye Ayomide of Idikan Baptist Comprehensive College of Ibadan was named the female thespian.
Speaking at the grand finale, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma thanked the management, coaches, and students of all the schools that took part in the competition. She commended the efforts of the finalists and applauded the stand-out performance of the eventual winner, Vital Years Secondary School.
She noted that; “Without a doubt, this was a keenly contested competition and you will agree with me that the best team won. The passion, creativity and sheer depth of composure displayed by these students only help to re-confirm that our decision to invest in the grassroots development of local talent was the right economic and human development decision.”
The 2019 MTN Foundation Theatre for Schools competition was implemented in collaboration with the theatre arts departments of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), the University of Ibadan and the University of Port Harcourt. Each school received state-of-the-art equipment worth two million, five hundred thousand naira (N2, 500,000.00) each to enhance their creative practice.
The MTN Foundation’s Arts and Culture causes has for the last five years supported shows, plays, musicals and initiatives that aim to tell authentically Nigerian stories. Recent productions supported by the Foundation include critically acclaimed shows as Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Legends, the Musical, the Life in My City Art Festival in Enugu, Our Son The Minister, the Made in Nigeria Poetry Show and High: The Play.