Dr. Tosin Tume, Nigerian female playwright and academic, shares her professional experiences with us. Please enjoy!
By Dr Folakenmi Ogungbe
Folakemi Ogungbe of the AHSCE Lagos Hub meets with Dr. Tosin Tume, a female playwright and academic to talk about her experiences functioning in the Nigerian creative space. Tosin, who is a self-publishing and self-funded playwright explains that she has to juggle many responsibilities in order to make ends meet and this is very limiting as she could achieve more if there is adequate funding and support for female playwrights in Africa.
Tosin explains that she had a difficult childhood and used writing as a form of escapism. She wrote poems, stories and plays to distract herself from the pains. She eventually went to the University of Ilorin where she read English. She went to serve with the Nasarawa Council of Arts and Culture, where she started writing plays for the cultural troupe which was performed and widely acclaimed.
The critical acclaim was the validity Tosin needed to launch her career fully as a playwright in the Nigerian creative space. Tosin, who was retained at the Nasarawa Council for Arts and Culture after her compulsory National Youth Service Corp programme of one year, wrote Sweet Poison which is a play about HIV/Aids for a performance for the World AIDS Day. She later submitted Sweet Poison for a competition in South Africa (2015) and her play got accepted.
She went to the University of Abuja where she graduated with a M. A degree in Theatre Arts and at the University of Ilorin, she got her PhD degree in Performing Arts. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Rhodes University, South Africa. Tosin has written plays such as The Pact (2013), Tribal Marks (2014), Mojogbayi (2015), Arodan (2018), Let there be light (2018) and The Victims (2019) which earned her an Association of Nigerian Authors prize for National Best Drama Prize.
Tosin, who is also runs a theatre company alongside her husband belongs to several bodies. She is a member of the steering committee and the festival director for African Women Playwright Network (AWPN), she is the treasurer for Society of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioner (SONTA), she is a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA); she is a member of the Africa Theatre Association (AfTA) and the Women Playwright Network (WPI).
Tosin depends on her husband and friends to read her drafts and offer advice. She is especially grateful for Segun Adefila of the Crown Troupe and Bimbo Manuel, the Nollywood actor, who she can always depend on. Tosin believes that stories about women is best written from the lens of a woman. She also believe that active practitioners must have a compulsory place in the University Curriculum.