Sola Fosudo: And the rank of academics in Nollywood swells
There was a time when there were only a few academics in Nollywood. In fact, they were finger countable. But as the industry grew, practitioners there, reached out to more members of the academia to join so that they can bring their theory cum practical experiences to bear in the quest to improve the fortunes of the industry. In no time, there was not only a marriage between town and gown, but the screen bristled with some dramatists, scholars and critics from the academia including Sola Fosudo, Sam Dede, Columbus Irosanga, Zulu Adigwe, Don Pedro Obaseki, Emeka Nwabueze, Laz Ekwueme, Ahmed Yerima, Kola Oyewo, Ayo Akinwale and the late Professor Akinwunmi Isola taking up screen roles and penning some of the critically acclaimed movies.
But amongst these high ranking members of the academia, the dramatist, scholar, director and actor Sola Fosudo is reputed to be amongst the first set of university dons, who embraced Nollywood early enough featuring in some of Nollywood’s acclaimed block bursters like True Confession, Glamour Girls I, Rituals, Strange Ordeal, Iyawo Alhaji, amongst others.
Although he arguably became a household name following his exploits in those early critically acclaimed Nollywood movies, Fosudo’s career as an actor started way before what is today called Nollywood was born. Before Nollywood, Fosudo had featured in several stage productions and acted in several television soaps and series including the long rested Village Headmaster, Sound of Destiny in 1980’s, The Third Eye, Ripples and a host of others.
The native of Ejinrin, Igbo Oye in Epe Local Government Area, Lagos State who started his career in 1980 at the Obafemi Awolowo University under the mentorship of Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Adelugba amongst others, is now a Professor of Theatre Arts. The Governing Council of the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State confirmed Professor Fosudo’s promotion to the post of Professor of Theatre Arts on Thursday, June 28. The theatre arts teacher of no mean stature who is widely published and who has held several leadership positions in the University including serving at various times as Head of the Department of Theatre Arts of the Lagos State University has joined the unofficial club of academic professors in Nollywood.
A consummate actor, dramatist, theatre director, scholar, critic and Director of Information at the Lagos State University, Sola Anthony Fosudo is a versatile artiste who has registered his mark creditably on stage and screen. While his exploits on stage speak loud, the prolific actor has equally made his mark in Nollywood having featured in so many chartbusters.
Trained at various times at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and the University of Ibadan where he encountered great scholars who prepared him for his pioneering role as a theatre scholar, Fosodu is without a doubt an icon of modern Nigerian theatre. His name is very popular among home movie fans in Nigeria and across the continent. Iyawo Alhaji, Glamour Girls I and True Confession were among the early home video productions that made him a household name. Also to his credit were others like the Yoruba classic Amin Orun (Birthmark), Village Headmaster, The Third Eye, Ripples, Koko Close, Playing Game and Grace to Grass among others.
Founder of Centre Stage Productions, a theatre company he established essentially to discover and nurture budding talents, Fosudo has received countless industry and academic awards including the legend of Nollywood Awards (LNA) and The Movie Awards (THEMA).
For Professor Fosudo who is married to Yeye Yetunde Fosodu, a Deputy Director at the National Theatre, the promotion to the rank of Professor is a call to greater service to the university, to the state, to theatre practice and to humanity. “Glory and praise to God Almighty for His mercy, love and faithfulness. I bless the name of the Lord for my elevation and thank the Governing Council for considering me worthy for elevation. To God alone be the glory. This is a call to greater service to the University, to the State, to the nation, to the profession and to humanity generally. I have always been one who is interested in building capacities and contributing to the betterment of society. So this is a greater call to do more,’’ he said.
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