IHRAF Unveils Judges As African Human Rights Playwriting Prize Gets Underway

The International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF), organizer of the African Human Rights Playwriting Prize, has announced the selection of two judges for the just concluded playwriting competition aimed at elevating public consciousness and understanding of human rights values through plays in order to guarantee the safeguarding of people’s rights in Africa. 

In a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan, the Director of IHRAF in Africa, Wole Adedoyin disclosed that they have received outstanding entries from four different countries within Africa. The countries are: Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.

To evaluate and select outstanding entries for the top prizes in the competition, the organizer of the African Human Rights Essay Competition has unveiled two distinguished individuals with diverse experiences and expertise in playwriting.

The two selected judges are Marcus Ovie Ugboduma and Tom Block

Tom Block is a playwright, author of five books and 20+ year visual artist. His plays have been developed and produced at such venues as the Ensemble Studio Theater, HERE, Dixon Place, Theater for the New City, IRT Theater, Theater at the 14th Street Y, Theater Row, A.R.T.-NY and many others. He was the founding producer of the International Human Rights Art Festival (2017), the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival (2010) and a Research Fellow at DePaul University (2010). He has exhibited his artwork and spoken about his ideas throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Turkey and the Middle East.

Marcus Ovie Ugboduma is a Nigerian graduate, who also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the National Teachers Institute Kaduna, and is a professional member of the Certified Institute of Purchasing and Supply Administration of Nigeria.

He is a Teacher, Creative thinker, a playwright, a poet Behavioral Coach and a custodian and promoter of the African Culture.

He is a playwright whose main focus is plays for teens, a decision he reached as a deliberate intention to correct social ills especially among teenagers. 

He is an adept lover of books and the founder of the Book Friendly Club of God’s Blessing Comprehensive College and has served as a role model, writing and staging plays, and encouraging young people to write plays and take roles in acting.

In 2006 his bi-lingual play “Ayanmo” was staged by students of Cambridge High School Ibadan as her entry at the Wale Ogunyemi Drama Festival (DRAFEST) for schools in Oyo State Organised by National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners

He is also Author of the play titles “Do Us No Harm” a play on Female Genital Mutilation which was staged by students of God’s Blessing Comprehensive College Ibadan and aired on Space FM Ibadan in 2017 on the International day of the girl child.

Two of his plays for screen have been produced into home videos. “The First Step” is a drama that promotes the need for   couples to know their health status especially HIV and AIDS before venturing into marriage. This drama featured his Poem ODO EMENAM An elegy to a friend who contracted the HIV virus and lost his life. His second drama produced into home videos is titled “Voice of the Prophets, it was produced in 2009 and sold out among Christian circle. In both dramas he was the producer and co-directed the plays with Ade Jerry Idris a film maker.

Also Marcus had a brief stint with scripting musical videos for the defunct Ibadan based Hip hop duo “The Love Boys”. their songs ” We living in the ghetto” and Onye Nkem were aired constantly on BCOS TV for close to two years and emerged as one of the most aired music videos in that year.

In the last 10 Years Marcus prepared students in casting them for roles helping  them in blocking their line, and co-directing several other plays with Directors such as Olabamiji Olaiya, Samson Akapo and Tolu Fagbure, He was part of the following plays staged by Students of Gods blessing Comprehensive college Ibadan from 2012 till date, they include, Ogbori Elemoso staged in 2012 Kunrunmi by Ola Rotimi, staged in 2013.

Farewell to A Carnival rage by Prof Femi Osofisam staged in 2014, Langbodo by Wale Ogunyemi staged in 2015.

Twingle Twangled, a twinnie tayle by Prof Femi Osofisan, Other plays staged by students of Gods blessing Comprehensive College at their Annual Valedictory service includes Afonja a play by Dr Saka Alliu staged in 2017,  Shadows on Arrival, a play by Prof Catherine Ezenwanebe staged in 2019.

The next play to be staged by his students in which he is also involved in the planning, casting staging is ‘Agbeloba’, a play on the farmers uprising in Ibadan in the sixties, the play is scheduled to be staged on the 17th day of November 2021 at Ibadan civic centre

Marcus over the years has prepared students whose plays poems and prose had featured and won the annual Fagunwa Day writing competition organised by the Association of young Nigerian writer’s.

Marcus has the following plays to his credit.

The masquerade will not dance (II) an extract from his novel made into a covid19 play, to show how the pandemic has affected our cultural life, was staged by students of Gods blessing Comprehensive college at the 2021, Cultural day celebration, The Chairman Oyo state council for Arts and culture was among dignitaries that attended the premiere of this play.

‘Regret has no medicine’ is another play aimed at correcting societal ills.

‘My destiny’ a play was also written and staged by students and pupils of Omotoyosi Model Group Of Schools, in 2019 while ‘Regret has no medicine’ was staged also by students and pupils of the same school in 2018.

His play “Ogunsoye” a play on charms for knowledge was staged in 2018 also by students of Gods blessing Comprehensive College

He was recently one of the three guest speakers at the Ibadan book club for her October 2021 reading where he spoke on the “importance of Poetry to every writer”

 Marcus has also featured in other fields of literature and creative works using reading and writing as a tool to correcting social ills and keeping teenager away from social vices and crime.

He had also  led students from Secondary Schools in Oyo state to Win the 2019 Children cultural quiz for secondary schools at the NATIONAL FESTIVAL FOR ARTS AND CULTURE NAFEST EDO 2019.

His students also came overall forth position in Children Essay writing competition at NAFEST EDO 2019, and overall second position at the Children Arts category at NAFEST EDO 2019.

He also led his students to win the National Safety Quiz 2016 in Oyo state.

Marcus enjoys spending time with his students, and mentoring them in creative writing he loves travelling  and spending time with his family and when relaxed he reads religious books.

His most inspiring moments are when faced with challenges. and solving them.

His desire for young people is to help them  solve social problems and vices which has earned him the accolade the ” TOWN CRIER”  because of his penchant for writing poems and plays aimed at preserving our cultural heritage,  history and documenting political happenings.

Between 2003 and 2007 he was a Ward Chairman of the All Nigerian People’s party Ward 9 Mokola Ibadan.

He has been a community Leader of the Mokola Community in Ibadan serving as it’s secretary for several years.

He is also one of the founding fathers of the prestigious Mokola Carnival

Before venturing into Teaching he was a singer, rapper, disc Jockey song and script writer.

He is today an educationist, whose aim is to improve reading culture in Nigeria

He also mentored and presented students who have won prizes at three previous editions of the Fagunwa day celebration in areas of poetry, drama and prose.

His poems “The lamentation of an Aborted fetus” and “Okigbo in Biafra” were featured in the anthology of poems in honour of Prof Remi Raji @50.

He also co-edited the anthology of poems in honour of Senator Abiola Ajimobi with Wole Adedoyin.

15 Playwrights Make List

Fifteen Playwrights from across Africa have made the African Human Rights Playwriting Prize Long List.

The longlist was selected from more than forty English-language submissions. The selection of the longlist was done by Marcus Ovie Ugboduma. Follow the below link to read his profile. 

Entries were received from four different countries which include: Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. Submissions were judged based on Theme, Voice and Style, Characterization, Plot, Dialogue, Appropriateness, Props and Costumes, Stage Direction and conformity to contest rules.

Find below the complete longlist:

  1. Akwu Sunday Victor – Tegina: Broken Innocence
  2. Ari-ajiaolanrewaju – A Dog Life
  3. Victor Ola-matthew – Gunfire At Our Market
  4. Alexander Nderitu – Freedom Corner
  5. Abubakar Terkimbi Saidu – Tied Hands
  6. Confidence Ode – The Egg Hatched
  7. R. B. Pembroke – Men Who Live By Bread
  8. Abughdyer Mwuese Stephanie – The Perfect Husband
  9. Chigozie Mbadugha – I Should Have Been Enough
  10. Onis Sampson – Babel Of Voices
  11. Abigail Imoh – Because He’s A Man
  12. Chidozie Chukwubuike – Formula Two
  13. Kwaghkule Aondonengen Jacob – The Loners’ Street
  14. Okwudiri Favour – Her Lawful Crime
  15. Chukwu Precious Ugochukwu – My Uncle’s Love .

The shortlist will be announced tomorrow, Friday, November 19, 2021.

African Human Rights Playwriting Prize is an initiative of the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF), USA aimed at elevating public consciousness and understanding of human rights values through plays in order to guarantee the safeguarding of people’s rights in Africa.



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