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African Performance
Meet the judge for 2007
Meet the Judge


Listen to Meet the Judge

Olusola Oyeleye
Oyeleye is director of Porgy and Bess in London's West End
Olusola Oyeleye is a woman who is hard to define. She directs plays, writes poetry, she's an actor and a film maker and has collaborated with dancers and musicians.

She is also particularly interested in getting children enthused about performance and the arts in general.

Originally from Nigeria, she grew up in London, but says that her frequent visits to Nigeria have had a strong effect upon her approach to the arts.

Undivided arts

In Africa, she says, the arts don't tend to be divided up into different genres. This may account for her love of music theatre, which combines dancing, singing and acting.

At present, she is resident director of a production of George Gershwin's musical Porgy and Bess in London's West End.

The director is one of Britain's most celebrated, Trevor Nunn, and it is Olusola's job to maintain the high standards that he set at the beginning of the run, which will last for many months, and to introduce new members into the cast.

Vivid storylines

A privilege and an absolute pleasure.
Olusola Oyeleye on judging 2007 African Performance
Olusola describes the process of judging the 2007 African Performance Play Writing Competition as "a privilege and an absolute pleasure".

She was given a shortlist of twelve plays and had the difficult task of picking just four. The play that won her heart was A Bull Man's Story, which took first prize.

She commended it as a simple but powerful tale that brings to life very vividly the impact that violence in a marriage can have upon a child.

Maybe it was the central role of the child in this play that commended it to Olusola.

Shared experiences

One of the collaborations she is most enthusiastic about is her work with children's author Beverley Naidoo, from South Africa.

Olusola helped Naidoo research her stories by working with street children in South Africa and bringing children from different communities together to meet each other and share their experiences.

Another long term partnership for Olusola is her work with Nigerian composed Akin Euba.

She has directed Chaka, the opera for which he is most famous, and he has set some of her poems to music.

One of these is Below Rusumo Falls, a poem inspired by a photograph taken in a Rwandan beauty spot soon after the genocide in 1994.
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