Renowned academic and Nollywood actor, Prof. Ayo Akinwale, is dead

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The renowned Professor of Performing Arts and a Veteran Nollywood actor, Professor Ayo Akinwale, is dead.

According to an announcement by the Dean of Arts, University of Ilorin, Professor Abdulrasheed Adeoye, on Unilorin 89.3 FM facebook page, Akinwale passed on today at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH).

The message reads,
“TRANSITION TO HIGHER GLORY

“If life is not vanity upon vanity, then, what is it? Death is indeed wicked!

“With heavy heart and total submission to the will of the Almighty God, I announce the passing on to higher glory of Prof. Ayo Akinwale, of the Department of the Performing Arts,  University of Ilorin. He died today, the 13th September, 2020 at the Unilorin Teaching Hospital.

“May the Almighty God comfort the family and all of us.”

The Man, Akinwale

Professor Ayo Akinwale is not only a veteran actor but also a movie producer and an academician? One of the best actors of his time, he has featured in several radio and television programmes and and also home movies. He was the former Dean, Faculty of Arts at the University of Ilorin and also a laureate of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) 

Prof. Akinwale was born in the early 50s to the royal household of Pa Akinwale in the ancient City of Ibadan. He began his education at the St. Lukes Demonstration School, Molete Ibadan, Oyo State, and then proceeded to Methodist High School also in Ibadan, where he was introduced to theatre arts. 

In 1966, he acted as ‘Imodoye’ in a movie titled ‘Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmole,’ produced by one of his teachers and then moved to Molusi College in Ijebu Igbo, where he obtained his Senior School Leaving Certificate.

He began his academic career as a Science Teacher and a Drama Coordinator at Ilora Grammar School where he performed in a theatre play titled ‘Beyiose’. His love for theatre made him change his field of study from Sciences to Arts. 

Prof. Akinwale gained admission into the University of Ibadan, where he performed at international theatre festivals under the leadership of Prof Adelugba. He was a household name in the late 70s when he featured in many TV plays and dramas.

He gained employment at BCOS (The Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State) in the 80s and later moved to the Ibadan Polytechnic Iree Campus from where he moved to the University of Ilorin. He served in various capacities such as   the Head of the Department of the Performing Arts at the University of Ilorin in 1985 and later as the Dean of Arts.

Prof Akinwale has written several books and articles on Theatre Arts in Nigeria. Some of his publications include; ‘From Compound Space, to the Living Stage’ Nigerian Theatre Journal. Vol. 2, No. 1. (1998); ‘Theatre and Democracy in Nigeria’ Nigerian Theatre Journal. Vol. 6, No. 1, ‘Nigerian Playright’; Zulu Sofola (2005); ‘The Nigerian Theatre and Economic Viability.’ Arts Administration in Contemporary Nigeria; The Nigeria Broadcaster’ Media Nigeria; ‘The Theatre and Nigeria’s New Democratic Environment: A Sociological Overview,’ and many more.

A seasoned actor with a fantastic Yoruba accent, his spoken English is also impeccable. He featured in quite a number of movies as an actor and producer; he has produced many home videos in Nigeria. He featured in movies such as; Sango, Ladepo Omo Adanwo, Clash of the Gods, Iranse Aje, Eti Keta among others. 

Prof Akinwale’s contribution to the theatre and movie industry in Nigeria gave him the leverage of being assigned South-West Zonal Co-ordinator for the Abuja Carnivals, and also a judge for the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST). He has been a judge on several cultural festivals across Nigeria and he was the Chairman of the Oyo State Council for Arts and Culture.

Prof Akinwale is a recipient of many honours and awards. He won the Best Indigenous actor award at the 4th Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and has remained prominent on issues regarding Arts in Nigeria.

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