It began as a playwright competition organised by the Beeta Universal Arts Foundation with over 120 submissions received. The 5-man panel of Judges was chaired by Prof. Ahmed Yerima and after a short list of 10 plays, “Our Son the Minister” by Paul Ugbede emerged the winner. As part of his winning, he received a cash prize, had his play published by Paperworth Books and lastly the play was brought to stage. Directed by Kenneth Uphopho and produced by Bikiya Graham-Douglas it showed for 3 days at the Terra Kulture Arena, Victoria Island, Lagos.
This maiden production proved very successful with sold out tickets to a varied audience and starred talented performers to include Patrick Diabuah, Diana Yekinni, Soibifaa Dokubo, Inna Erizia, Paul Morgan, Omololu Sodiya, Biodun Kassim and Oladapo Gbadamosi.
The play’s political satirical theme resonated with the watchers especially with national elections in view and its pertinence to Nigeria’s social-cultural adjustments. From the beginning, it ignites serious conversations on nationhood and how ultimately, family and community influences are significant.
Lagosians had the whole weekend to enjoy this theatrical performance and with both the private sector and civil society appreciating its strong messaging, some audience members benefitted from sponsored tickets. The British Council supported 150 seats for students and young artists, and couples and families attended as advance Valentine celebrations.
A host of celebrities and dignitaries graced the performances with Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the Lagos State honorable commissioner of Culture in attendance at the finale performance on Sunday evening.
Beeta Universal Arts Foundation is having two more productions of this play by the end of the year and plans to make a call for submissions for the second edition of the Beeta Playwright Competition in the immediate future.