MTN Foundation Sponsors “Tony Wants to Marry” Drive-In Theatre Performance
In line with its commitment to the renaissance of arts and culture in Nigeria, the MTN Foundation is sponsoring a drive-in theatre performance of Tony Wants to Marry, a play written by Jerry Alagbaoso and directed by Agozie Ugwu. The play which explores the pressure Nigerian parents mount on their children to marry will feature several household names including Osas Ighodaro, Francis Duru and Cynthia Nwadiora (CeeC).
A press conference was held on 26th March, 2021 ahead of the Abuja show which is scheduled to hold on April 4, 2021, at the parking lot of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja at 6 p.m. The Lagos show is scheduled to hold in May 2021.
Explaining the decision of the production team to opt for a drive-in theatre performance instead of a traditional indoor theatre setting, Agozie Ugwu stated, “We are aware that the virus is still out there. The idea of drive-in theatre is to ensure safety and forestall the spread of the virus. Drive-in theatre, since its inception in May 2020, has remained a veritable option for the reinvention of live performance amidst the pandemic.”
He described a drive-in theatre as “a theatre modelled after the theatre in the arena kind of performance where the audience drive in their cars, stay in their cars and watch a play from their cars.”
Expanding on the intersection between MTN’s commitment to the promotion of theatre and the safety of Nigerians, Nonny Ugboma, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, stated that “The pandemic has created a problem for the arts and culture industry, which we at the MTN Foundation are passionate about. We also know that the experience of going to the theatre has been missed by theatre lovers.
We, however, commend the stakeholders in the industry for rising up to the challenge through physical distance solutions such as drive-ins and virtual shows. The drive-in takes us back to the history of theatre while ensuring safety. We are happy to be a part of Tony Wants to Marry and we are looking forward to it.”
Also speaking at the press conference, veteran actress and host, Osas Ighodaro stated, “I am very excited to be a part of this production. Thank you to MTN and all our sponsors for their support and for making this happen.”
Expressing his gratitude to the MTN Foundation for their support, Agozie Ugwu stated, “I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN Nigeria for the support in helping us actualize this performance. As our headline sponsors, they have shown their unreserved commitment towards the development and expansion of arts and cultural export in Nigeria and at the same time ensuring the safety of Nigerians from coronavirus. Thank you MTN for helping us reinvent theatre in the midst of the pandemic.”
Nonny Ugboma also spoke on MTN’s passion and work in the Nigerian arts and culture industry, “The MTN Foundation is passionate about arts and culture. Since 2015, we have been sponsoring the artistic endeavours of Nigerians in visual and creative arts. We are particularly proud of our work in ensuring the renaissance of arts and culture and encouraging the creative expression of young people. Our support has also ensured the promotion of positive narration of Nigerian stories, cultural understanding and Nigeria’s rich culture to local and international audiences.”
Agozie Ugwu iterated that the COVID-19 safety protocols would be strictly adhered to and urged everyone who intends to attend the event to come wearing their facemasks.