A new pan-Nigerian competition aimed at grooming the next generation of actors, actresses and theatre practitioners is set to debut next week.

The initiative, called Theatre for Schools, is intended to arouse the interest of secondary school students in the arts through competition and participation. Styled as a competition, the initiative will further promote public interest in Nigerian arts and culture as well as nurturing identified talents.

Initiated by MTN Foundation as part of its commitment to developing Arts and Culture in Nigeria, the competition entails university faculties of Theatre Arts mentoring a select number of secondary schools within their geographic catchment area.

The schools will be required to produce a play which will be staged, first at regional finals in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Ibadan, with the winners showcasing their work at a national final in Lagos. All participating schools in the competition’s maiden edition will be adopted by the Foundation as ‘MTN Arts & Culture Schools’ and paired with some of theatrical leading lights with the hope of nurturing and developing identified talents.

Speaking on the launch of the new initiative, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said, “One thing that has become clear from supporting arts and culture over the last few years is that Nigeria is burgeoning with amazing talent and many stories waiting to be told. With the Theatre for Schools competition, we are offering a platform for our next generation of storytellers. We are looking at nurturing teens who will go on to become great thespians in the Nigerian theatre scene.”

The MTN Foundation’s Arts and Culture causes have 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.

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