The creation of Bayelsa State on October 1, 1996, marked the beginning of the Bayelsa State Council for Arts & Culture. The services of thirty-seven (37) members of staff of Bayelsa State origin in the old Rivers State Council for Arts & Culture transferred to the newly created state with effect from October 6, 1996. These persons formed the nucleus of the present Bayelsa State Council for Arts & Culture. Paradoxically, the existence of the Council then was nothing to write home about, as staff had neither offices nor any rehearsal venue to ply their trade.
The Council came into existence officially with the signing into law of the Edict establishing it on May 4, 1998, by the then Military Administrator of the State, Navy Capt. Omoniyi Caleb Olubolade. The Council is responsible for preserving, promoting and fostering the appreciation, revival and development of the Arts and Culture of the State among other functions.
As the custodian of the Arts and Culture of the State, and as the organ that is flying the flagship of culture in the state, the Council has the vision of putting Bayelsa State on the national and international cultural agenda in the new millennium. However, while ours is to do regular performances, in our desire to bring theatre to the consciousness of the masses, we can only achieve the much-needed result if we get the desired patronage from all and sundry, every time our services are needed. This is a sure way of developing the state of Arts & Culture in Bayelsa State… the glory of all lands.
FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCIL
Every Council for Arts & Culture is set up with specific aims and objectives. As it were, the Bayelsa State Council for Arts & Culture was set up specifically to:
To promote and foster the appreciation, revival and development of the arts and culture of the State
To plan and co-ordinate cultural activities in the State and foster the development of literary, visual and the performing arts in the State
To organize and promote exhibition in visual, performing and literary arts as determined from time to time by the Executive Governor
To produce documentary films on the culture of the State for use in Nigeria and for export
To organize and conduct lectures or demonstration workshops to provide instruction in the arts
To cooperate with any other bodies or persons engaged in or connected with the arts in the State or any part of Nigeria
To publish or sponsor, or cause to be sponsored, the publication of any literature, periodicals, and newspaper or broadcast materials in relation to the arts; and
To promote the development of music, traditional dance, drama, opera, cinema, films, photography, folklore, oral tradition, poetry, literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, town planning and general arts, woodwork, embroidery, weaving and similar crafts.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE COUNCIL
The Council started without properly constituted authority. The most senior staff present at any given time held brief. This continued until November 18, 1998, when the then Honourable Commissioner for Information & Culture, Mr. Paul Orieware, appointed Sir Bekewuru Benedict Ballard, a University of Calabar trained graduate of Theatre Arts, as the Acting Director. Before his redeployment, Sir Ballard taught Drama and Creative Arts at St. Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School, Amarata - Yenagoa.
Sir Ballard held brief until March 30, 1999, when Lt. Col. Paul Edor Obi, who had taken over from Navy Capt. Olubolade as the Military Administrator of Bayelsa State, appointed Chief Simon Meshu Opuwari Ambakederemo (a.k.a. Beks Royal) as the first substantive Executive Director of the Council. A ten-member Board with Mr. Branzuk C. Ikuli as Chairman was also inaugurated on the same day (March 30, 1999). Consequently, Ballard was redeployed to take charge of the Performing Arts Division.
By June 2000, Chief Ambakederemo retired, having put in the mandatory thirty five years in the civil service; and the board also sacked. His Excellency, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, the first Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, was later to approve the appointment of Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, a Theatre Arts Lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Dr. Ayakoroma's appointment as the second Executive Director of the Council was announced formally On August 22, 2000, and he assumed duty four days later. Through his creative ability, he has raised the artistic standard of the Bayelsa State Troupe considerably, and by dint of purposeful leadership, shown the way forward.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE COUNCIL
The Council is operating along the following organizational structure:
THE DIRECTORATE: This is the Office of the Executive Director, which executes policies. Among other functions, it:
a) Coordinates projects or programmes of the Council
b) Initiates creative, literary and cultural programmes
c) Supervises and organizes various divisions
d) Oversees public and media relation’s matters; and
e) Advises the ministry/government on issues relating to arts and culture.
This is the pivot on which the management of the Council revolves.
ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE: This division takes care of:
a) Personnel matters – appointment, promotion, staff discipline, welfare, etc.
b) Finance and supplies
d) Security; and
e) General maintenance of the office/furniture
This Administration Division is under the headship of Mr. Ebi Andrew Kirifagha, an Assistant Director.
PERFORMING ARTS DIVISION (PAD): This division showcases the rich cultural heritage of the state through drama, music and dance, as follows:
a) Handling the Bayelsa State Troupe performances
b) Projecting the Arts Council Resident Band – The Glory Beats of Bayelsa
c) Embarking on schools drama programmes
d) Initiating community theatre
e) Undertaking enlightenments campaigns for government using the theatre
f) Assisting in coordinating local cultural festivals
g) Organizing State Cultural Festivals; and
h) Participating in National and International Festivals
This division was the only visible area of the council before Dr. Ayakoroma’s assumption of office. This anomaly has been addressed. The audience has always commended the level of professionalism exhibited by the troupe in its many stage performances.
Dr. Ayakoroma brought his love for music to bear in the Council with the introduction of a live band, The Glory Beats of Bayelsa. This has added color to the performances of the Bayelsa State Troupe. With the acquisition of good instruments, the resident band, with its crop of talented artistes, play highlife, owigiri (a popular brand of highlife music), native blues, reggae, pop, or gospel music brilliantly, depending on the composition of the audience or the occasion. This is why the Council is currently reaching out to other States’ Councils for Arts & Culture and international arts management groups to facilitate our cultural exchange programmes.
The Performing Arts Division is currently under the leadership of Sir Bekewuru Benedict Ballard, a Deputy Director, who is there on a second tour.
For enquiries on the Bayelsa State Troupe and The Glory Beats of Bayelsa:
Phone: +234-803-729-6183 (Patrick); +234-803-552-7591 (Grace); or +234-803-629-7176 (Doutimi).
VISUAL ARTS & DESIGN DIVISION (VAD): This division has the responsibility of projecting the creative ingenuity of Bayelsans in the areas of:
a) Graphics and Designs
e) Weaving; and
The division exhibits all such creative works in a gallery for prospective art collectors. The weavers, the carvers and the carpenters have been empowered with the provision of the necessary tools for them to work with. The gains of the above could be seen at our gallery at the lobby of the Gloryland Cultural Centre, Ovom – Yenagoa: beautiful walking sticks, wooden fish trays, fish pin trays, paddles, wooden guns, stools, benches, and other office construction works.
The Visual Arts and Design Division is currently under the headship of Praise Oyinbrambaifa, a Principal Arts Production Officer.
Click here to view photos of Arts works…
5. RESEARCH, PUBLICATION, & DOCUMENTATION DIVISION (RPD): This is expected to be the database of the Arts Council. This is from:
a) Conducting research on material and non-material culture
b) Documenting and publishing research findings
c) Operating library and photographic services
d) Handing audio-video documentation of cultural events
e) Managing of the State Museum; and
f) Establishing a cultural data bank for prospective researchers
Dr. Ayakoroma’s vision to start an in-house newsletter, titled Owoye, an Izon word meaning, "our own" was realized when the maiden edition dated June 2001 came out of the press. Though Owoye started as a quarterly publication, it has since graduated to a monthly publication, and the editions could now be read online.
The Research and Publications Division is also publishing Abalabala, an academic journal on arts and culture. It is a medium for the cross-pollination and cross-fertilization of artistic and cultural ideas in the Niger Delta. Seiyifa Koroye, an erudite and respected scholar, who teaches in the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt, is the editor the Abalabala journal.
The Research, Publication, & Documentation Division is currently headed by Payeboye Festus-Lukoh, an Assistant Director.
6. MARKETING DIVISION: This division has the responsibility of:
a) Selling the Bayelsa State Troupe to the outside world;
b) Get contracts for performances;
c) Get advert bookings for the Council’s publications;
d) Initiate and coordinate special projects for the Council;
e) Get sponsorship for major performances of the troupe; and
f) Bring troupes from outside the state to perform for Bayelsa audiences
The Marketing Division is under the headship of Patrick Bekeowei, in an acting capacity.
For enquiries about the operations or marketing scheme of the council:
Phone: +234-803-729-6183 (Patrick); +234-803-552-7591 (Grace); or +234-803-629-7176 (Doutimi).
7. THEATRE MANAGEMENT DIVISION: This division has, among other functions, the following responsibilities:
To receive bookings for the use of the Gloryland Cultural Centre
To ensure proper use of the Centre for approved functions
To handle general maintenance of the Centre
To ensure security for the Centre and also maintain law and order during public events
To organize and facilitate theatrical, musical and other artistic forms of entertainment in the Centre; and
To contribute towards the Council revenue generation target through hiring of the auditorium and management of theatrical and other forms of artistic entertainment through gate takings.
The Theatre Management Division is under the headship of Ineye Johnny Dudafa, a Deputy Director.
For enquiries for all bookings for the use of the Gloryland Cultural Centre Complex
Phone: +234-803-547-0678 (Ineye); or +234-803-871-9806 (Suofe)
Go To Gloryland Cultural Centre