‘Think interculturally and internationally’ African theatre figure tells students
Olabisi Adigun – founder of Ireland’s only African theatre company – has been sharing his artistic wisdom with students and staff at the Liverpool Screen School.
The Nigerian-Irish writer and director has spent a month at LJMU after a successful run in the US of his Playboy of the Western World, co-written with Roddy Doyle.
Described as “a remarkable piece of writing” and “a superb piece of theatre”, Adigun reframed the play for today’s multi-cultural Dublin in which the runaway ‘playboy’ is rethought as an African refugee.
Fast forward a few months and Adigun is organising a reading of an African play (The Gods Are Not To Blame) with staff and students at LJMU and delivering workshops in African theatre practice to Drama students.
The playwright also worked with postgraduate students on the MA Cities, MA Making New Theatre and MA Musical Theatre Practice programmes.
“Bisi has been an amazing asset to the school and wider faculty and has enriched the student experience by introducing new cultural experiences and perspectives,” explained Rachel McLean, director of the Screen School.
Bisi said: “I really had a lot of fun here in Liverpool. I’ve been encouraging the students to think interculturally and internationally. The world is not only a global village, but also their oyster. I talked to them about the principles of theatre making, and also about how they can use digital technology to tell their stories.
“My message is also – to borrow the title of the Mary Robinson book – that ‘Everybody Matters’, that we are all uniquely gifted and different, regardless of our age, background, gender, sexual inclination, colour or creed.”
Happily, Bisi, who founded Arambe Theatre Productions, also used his down-time well to experience Liverpool, visiting the Slavery Museum, a talk on the book Ideological Scramble for Africa by Frank Gerits; LJMU’s Reverse Big Idea presentations and plays at the Everyman, the Royal Court, Shakespeare North and the Playhouse where he saw the wonderfully moving The Beekeeper of Aleppo.
Bisi Adigun’s residency was funded with support from Emma Roberts’s Global Engagement fund and was looked after by Professor Simon Piasecki amongst others.