|Nigeria: CORA Celebrates Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett @ 70|
The Committee for Relevant arts community gathered round to celebrate the 70th birthday of the ageless actress, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, at an event held at Tribeca, Lagos, on Sunday, February 13. Jointly organised by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) and the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the event was tagged, ‘State of the Stage: Conversation With and Around Taiwo Ajai-Lycett.'
In his welcome address, Jahman Anikulapo, programme chair of CORA, acknowledged the presence of the veteran actress, who needed no introduction as she exuded a regal aura where she sat. He spoke of how much she had contributed to the lives of many, adding that the dramatist Wole Oguntokun was the chosen moderator of the Forum because of his immense contribution to stage acting. Ajai-Lycett was going to be in conversation with fellow actresses, Tina Mba and Kate Henshaw-Nuttal; and the fact that Oguntokun had worked with all three was a plus, according to Anikulapo.
Guests at the gathering include, Francesca Emanuel and Bayo Oduneye, both pioneering performers who had been involved in acting from as early as the fifties and sixties. Joke Silva, Dejumo Lewis, Greg Odutayo (President of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, NANTAP), Tunde Kelani, Pamela Udoka and Teju Kareem. The event also featured a book reading session by Toyin Akinosho of CORA. His chosen text were Kaine Agary's novel, ‘Yellow Yellow'; and a short story by Melissa Myambo, ‘Deciduous Gazettes', from ‘Opening Spaces', an anthology compiled by the Yvonne Vera.
Responding to the accolades, Ajai-Lycett said she felt honoured to be there and thanked her fellow pioneering actors seated. "A poet is a visionary" that should be listened to and respected, she said, while acknowledging the poet and polemicist, Odia Ofeimun. Ajai-Lycett disclosed that her acting career had started by chance, when she stumbled across Yemi Ajibade on a production. The meeting paved the way for her to act.