The grand finale of the 3rd Beeta Playwright Competition which held on Wednesday, 22nd of July 2020 was all shades of inspiring, intriguing and enthralling.
Held on the Zoom App due to the continued spread of the coronavirus and restrictions on social gatherings in Nigeria, the hour-long event saw in attendance, sterling actors, and industry stakeholders.
Over a two-month period, the Beeta Universal Arts Foundation team (BUAF), led by award-winning actress, producer, and performing artiste, Bikiya Graham-Douglas, got over 442 entries from 30 States in Nigeria including the FCT and the diaspora.
With the help of the panel of judges ( Professor Ahmed Yerima, Nwakaego Boyo, Kenneth Uphopho, Ayo Jaiyesimi, Shaibu Husseini, and Ibiso Graham-Douglas), ten finalists were shortlisted and a winner emerged – Achalugo Chioma Ezekobe.
Speaking on how this edition panned out, Bikiya Graham-Douglas, who is passionate about empowering the next generation of writers enthused:
“I created this initiative to find new voices in the literary genre of drama in Nigerian Literature. Through this platform, I am able to develop talent and empower the next generation of playwrights in the country and the whole ecosystem of performing arts. I’m particularly pleased about this edition because of the female representation in the top ten. I’m also happy that this initiative is promoting inclusion as one of the finalists has a hearing impairment, and in her own words, she says this competition has given her enormous boost of confidence as a human being. This project is significant to me because it is in line with my ethos of development, it is documenting our authentic stories and impacting lives in communities positively.”
From inception to date, Beeta Playwright Competition has received over 1000 entries, published two plays with the third in production, had ten stage productions, and also has testimonials of finalists and winners doing amazing things in their own careers such as winning the NLNG Prize for Literature and Writing the critically acclaimed Moremi the Musical.
The winner of this edition, Achalugo Chioma, got the million Naira grand prize and a publishing deal with PaperWorth Books Limited for her play, “Daughters of the East”. Ronke Gbede’s “Barrister of Fiditi” and Temiloluwa Fosudo’s “Milk, Honey, and What Not” emerged first and second runner-up respectively.