The multinational mobile telecommunications company, MTN, has said it wants to facilitate the revival of the once dynamic performing arts space, the growth of music and the development of talent in Nigeria.
Since its inception in 2004, MTN Foundation, as a brand, has been committed to empowering young Nigerians through the MTN Project Fame, a partnership with the music school, helping talent in the theater industry.
MTN Foundation (MTNF) Executive Secretary Odunayo Sanya told The Guardian at Terra Kulture on Victoria Island in Lagos, where Death and King’s Horseman, a play directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters and produced by Joseph Umoibom, that MTNF’s objectives for foray into the arts and culture space remain to support platforms that promote values through art and culture.
Death and the King’s Rider is a play by Wole Soyinka based on an actual incident that took place in Oyo during the colonial era in 1946.
Speaking on the partnership, Sanya said, “Our partnership with Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions (BAP) goes back a few years now and the reason we do it is because MTNF believes in youth development. We think we have to develop people. We have partnered up with the Muson School of Music where young people study for two years with a scholarship to obtain a world-renowned music degree; we also recognized that there are young people who do not make music but have storytelling skills, who can preserve our culture.
For his part, Austen-Peters said: “It has been difficult because of COVID-19 but MTN has supported us. I entered this story because Professor Soyinka asked me to direct it. I read the book while I was doing my high school diploma but I didn’t really understand it, but doing it makes me understand the play. The way I conducted this piece is completely different from the way I conducted other pieces.