Beeta Universal Arts Foundation led by award winning actress and producer Bikiya Graham-Douglas recently organized the Beeta Playwright Competition (BPC) to give Nigerians between the ages of 18-40 a platform to tell our stories in our own voices.
Over a four month period the BUAF team received 176 entries from thirty states in Nigeria and the Diaspora. With the help of the Panel of Judges, Professor Ahmed Yerima, Shaibu Husseini, Lala Akindoju, Kenneth Uphopho and Ibiso Graham-Douglas the long list was made into a shortlist and 9 finalists were selected for the Grand Finale.
Sponsored by Union Bank of Nigeria Plc in their commitment to developing talent under their CSR Scope it was also supported by Paper Worth Books Limited, Terra Kulture and BIn Zel Services Limited. The guest list included notable personalities such as the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Her Excellency Mrs Oluranti Adebulu, represented by the SSA of Education Abiola Seriki Ayeni, the former Chief Whip to Lagos State Assembly Hon. Rasaq Balogun , The former Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland and Iceland H.E. Dr. Bolere Ketebu, Mr Pierre Cherreau from the French Consulate, Nollywood actresses Damilola Attoh, Ufuoma Mcdermott, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Celebrated Director and Playwright Mr Wole Oguntokun, OAP Omoye Uzamere and Producer of Saro and Wakaa the musical, Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters to mention a few.
The Beeta Appreciation Awards was also inaugurated at this event honouring personalities and organizations that had contributed to Nigerian Theatre through support for BUAF. Some awarded included; Total Nigeria, JARA TV show, Prof Ahmed Yerima, Shaibu Husseini, Beloxxi Industries Limited, Classic FM and Channels TV etc.
There was a theatre sketch presentation from the Play; Affiong’s First Novel by finalist Nikkita Oroh starring Opeyemi Dada and Tosin Adeyemi and was directed by Finalist and Creative Director of Kininso Koncepts Mr Joshua Alabi.
The winners were then revealed with Mr Paul Ugbede winning the big price of One Million Naira. Miss Nikkita Orok and Mr Olayiwola Awakan finished as 1st and 2nd Runner Up, winning Five Hundred Thousand Naira and Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira respectively.
It was a well-attended event with the focus on a new generation of playwrights who aspire to one day become legends Prof. Wole Soyinka and Prof. Ahmed Yerima. Guests were also thrilled to a beautiful musical performance by Isaac Gerald.