The BI Empowerment team met with renowned Dramatist, Playwright, Poet and the Artistic Director of Renegade Theater, Mr Wole Oguntokun. He spoke to us about his journey so far. This interview inspired the whole team, we hope it inspires you too. Mr Wole Oguntokun is passionate about Nigerian youths and has partnered with BI Solutions to support us on our journey towards empowering graduates. We say thank you to Mr Wole for speaking to us. Enjoy the interview.
Let’s meet Wole Oguntokun
I am a Dramatist, a Playwright, a Poet and the Artistic Director of Renegade Theater. I am also the Founder of the Theater Republic. I actually studied Law in the university and I hold two Masters’ degrees in Law and in Humanitarian and refugees studies.
You studied law in the University and even have a Master’s degree in law. How did you find yourself in drama productions?
I made my way there. It wasn’t accidental. Everyone is born with a gift, I reckon, I was blessed to recognize mine after a while. I started with writing plays and then created platforms for putting them up.
Challenges faced while trying to get to the top
In the beginning, very few people believed in me or understood what I was doing. There was also very little money to get my message across. It’s been a long while in coming, this ‘success’, and there’s still some way to go, but one must hang in there.
A little about Renegade Theatre and our future plans
Renegade Theatre is one of Nigeria’s foremost theater companies and was responsible for taking the first indigenous Nigerian play to appear at a major West End venue, ‘The Winter’s Tale’ at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2012. It was one of 37 plays chosen from around the world to be part of the Shakespeare Olympiad that year in London.
Renegade Theatre also presented the first Nigerian plays at the world’s biggest Arts Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland with its production of ‘The Waiting Room’ (2013) and ‘The Tarzan Monologues’ (2014)
Both productions were written and directed by me.
We hope to present our play, ‘The Chibok Girls: Our Story’, in Europe, later this year.
How does our Community Arts Programme promote positive youth development?
We have opened ‘The Theatre Republic’ in Lekki phase One where the young and young at heart cannot only find expression through the performing arts but also learn skills and hone talents across all the genre of the arts. This performing arts hub is meant to create an avenue for young people who seek a platform for expression.
Advice for youths seeking success
I’ll quote a popular song – ‘Alaiye, double your hustle. No time for ngbati, ngbati’. My interpretation? Hold on fast to the dream, work hard, don’t let go no matter what life throws at you. Jump off a cliff and believe you’ll be able to fly. It doesn’t matter who else believes in you, if you’ve got yourself, that is enough.