THE Chief Executive Officer, Free Gift International, Lagos, Mr. Ayotunde Yoloye, has said that the organisation has committed N10m to the 2009 Bright Talents drama competition for secondary schools pupils across the country.
Yoloye made this disclosure during a news conference to chart the programmes lined up for the 2009 competition, which got under way on Thursday with a draw for the participating schools.
Bright Talents is a drama competition for Nigerian secondary schools, initiated by the FGI to exploit the potential of drama for the academic, moral and social development of the pupils. It is aimed at helping pupils to expose their innate potential; develop their writing skills; self confidence; articulate their thoughts; and speaking in public.
According to him, the organisation planned to spend more than this amount on the competition, but for the paucity of funds.
?The challenges we have faced particularly in the area of obtaining sponsorship commitments have forced us to scale down the size of the competition for 2009 and we have reduced the projected cost of the competition from N26m to N10m,? he said.
Yoloye, however, said that in spite of the challenges, the zonal competition would start on January 24 with schools under Zone I, including Loral International Boarding School, Igbesa, Ogun State, Apostolic Faith Secondary School, Anthony Village, Lagos and Akinrotoye Memorial International School, Lagos and two others joining Faith Academy to qualify for the final.
He said that schools under Zone II, including Pacific Comprehensive College, Akowonjo, Lagos, Topgrade Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos, Doregos Private Academy, Ipaja, Lagos, Trinity International College, Ofada, Ogun State and four others would compete at the zonal level at Pacific on February 7.
Schools in Zone III, including the defending champion, Vivian Fowler Memorial Girls? College, Ikeja, Lagos, D?Ivy College, Ogba, Goodluck Comprehensive College, Bariga, African Church Model College, Agege, he said, would join two others to fight for the honour at Corona on February 21.
Yoloye, who addressed some students of the participating schools, teachers, judges and representatives of some firms sponsoring the competition, said that the organisation was being encouraged by the improvement in the quality of theatrical productions of the schools on an annual basis.
He reminded the participating schools about the regulations guiding the competition and what the judges would be looking for in rating them. Part of these, he said, were that the theme of the play must provide a solution to a social problem; quality of script; script written by a pupil will attract 10 bonus marks; and acting in which characterisation; carriage on stage; voice projection and body language would be assessed.
Other judging criteria, Yoloye added, included costumes cum make-up, technical elements, time management and moralistic content of the play. Judges for the contest include seasoned theatre and film professionals. Former Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Grace Alele Williams will be the chairman at the final scheduled for the National Arts Theatre, Lagos on March 5.
Some of the major sponsors of the annual competition, including Tantalizers, represented at the draw by the firm?s Promotion and Event Manager, Mr. Oyetayo Toluwalase, promised their continued support for the contest.