Titilayo Omowunmi Akinmoyo is the General Secretary of Nigerian Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Lagos State Chapter. A graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Port Harcourt, she is of the view that the audience should be able to tell artistes what they want to watch. She frowns at the way some female artistes dress to rehearsals venues. According to her, such behaviour often send negative signals to producers/directors that they can do anything to get what they want.
How I started
I started acting on stage in 1994. From there I progressed into television and radio drama. After my graduation I came back fully into the profession. In as much as I am a theatre person, I am into acting, dance, theatre management, producing and directing. I have participated in stage performances such as Ola Rotimi's Our husband has gone mad again, The Divorce by Wale Ogunyemi, Angst, all for rage, The God's are not to blame, King Jaja of Opobo, King Emene, Farewell to a carnibal rage, Moruntodun, No more the wasted breed, The strong breed, Trials of BrotherJero, Jero's metamorphosis, The lion and the jewel, Image of God among others
I made my debut on stage in Jesus and Martha in 1994 while my first screen appearance was in Devil's Assignment.
Being the Secretary of Lagos NANTAP is a tedious job. Most associations in Nigeria have one problem or the other and NANTAP is not an exception. When we came into office, Lagos State Chapter, had a lot of problems because it could not elect new executives. So, we came in an interim capacity and the first challenge was how to get people to come back to the association.
We appealed to our members to bury their differences and people really turned up and it became easier for us to organize events such the International Theatre Day (I.T.D.). Being the Secretary, I tried to communicate with people and with time, they realized that we had something in store for them. We finally held elections but it has not been easy getting support form corporate organizations and we have to do things on our own.
Usually, I go for auditions and if I am suitable for a role, I would be given that role. I'll like to know if the producer/director knows what he is doing or not. I don't do just any jobs, I like jobs that are challenging.
My role models are Joke Sylvia, Liz Benson, Remi Abiola, and Olu Jacobs because of the way they interprete their roles. They carry their audience in their roles
It is of two ways as an actor, you can do anything because the sky is your limit. Unfortunately, you have to consider the Nigerian society. It is said that nude roles is not part of our culture, it is either you throw everything to the wind and say that I am an actor, this is my job, I can do anything. Sincerely, they cannot pay me to act nude roles.
Sex for role
There is a saying that people dress the way they want to be addressed. When an artiste goes for an audition and portrays an attitude that they can do anything to get what they want with what they have. If you know what you have and what you can do, you can get anything that you want. I know what I have and what I can do. I would rather do everything on merit, sex has never been part of it. It has never been the bone of contention for me to get a role. I always get my roles on merit.
Most challenging role
My most challenging role was a stage play entitled Iyone. I was in the university then and I played the role of a mad woman. I did a lot of research into that role. After the performance, a woman from the audience came to meet the artistes off-stage and asked if the lady that played the role of the mad woman was actually all sane? She felt that I was mad! I put in a lot of work to bring out that madness in me but it was not easy.
Adjusting to theatre
Before I went to the university to study Theatre Arts, I was used to proscenium stage but when I got admitted to the university, I was later introduced to thrust stage. It wasn't difficult for me to adjust to the different types of stages. For example, on a proscenium stage, an artist can only look forward, he/she cannot back the audience but for thrust, where the seats are arranged in three different positions, the artist would have to back the one side of the audience. It wasn't really difficult for me in adjusting to the different types of stages because at the end of the day, it only requires my concentration.
Messages in films
Plays/films generally portrays what a society should be. Some plays deal with culture for people to know that we have a rich culture that will put them in the right direction. Most plays teach morality, spirituality so that people can take precautionary measures. For example, Angst, talks about how AIDS, how culture can help its prevention.
My message to the viewing public is that, they should be a little more selective in what they watch. They have a voice and they should tell artistes what they want and what they don't want to watch. People should not forget to watch stage performance.