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Emmanuel’s Lord Of Minds wins Jehf Play Writing Contest 


Winners of ONE-Act Play-writing Competition 2020, organised by James Ene Henshaw Foundation (JEHF), have been announced. The competition seeks to encourage the art of dramatic writing and is open to young people between ages 18 and 35 for the best original one-act play written for stage, film, or television.
The first prize went to Mary Imom for her play, Lord of Minds, while Mah’mud Tsalisu’s Come and Umoh Ita’s A Minute Past Six Feet came second and third respectively. 

The James Ene Henshaw Foundation was set up in memory of the late James Ene Henshaw, a pioneer of African drama and author of the famous play, This Is Our Chance. James Ene Henshaw was a medical doctor, who said he strayed into writing. This has been the thinking behind the vision, and the ethos guiding the foundation, which is to nurture and develop new playwrights and encourage more people to tell their stories. 

Jury member and former director of Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) and co-director of Lagos Fringe Festival, Mr. Kenneth Uphopho, stressed the importance of platforms such as JEHF provides and what it does to young creative minds, who are hard pressed for outlets to express their craft.

According to him, “The impact of creative writing competitions such as the one the James Ene Henshaw Foundation has just concluded cannot be over-emphasized. It’s a sure contribution to the writing community in Nigeria and encouragement to new voices trying to navigate their way in the creative industry. As a judge on the competition, our objective was to continue to develop and support these new crops of writers, who made the shortlist down to the finals.”

Also, jury member, theatre director, and founder of Theatre Republic, Lagos, Mr. Wole Oguntokun, said, “The winning entry Lord of Minds holds on to the elements of playwriting. It is based on a compelling topic, has a strong plot (as well as a subplot) and its characters are well developed. The writer led the reader, deftly, through the development of the story to its climax, the way a good play should be written.”
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 competition was conducted online with the announcement of the winners made via a Zoom conference on August 16, 2020. Foundation chairman, James Ene Henshaw Jr, moderated the prize announcement. The foundation hopes to return next year to its usual format of putting budding writers through a mentoring and development process through scriptwriting workshops that will culminate with the presentation of their works to a live audience. 


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