How Tranströmer Met Soyinka Theatre


Swedish ambassador to Nigeria Svante Kilander says his country will collaborate with Nigeria to enhance works of art and cultural relationship between them.

He gave the assurance in an interview in Abuja during an event entitled: “Tranströmer Meets Soyinka: Evening of Poetry Theatre’’, featuring Makinde Adeniran’s `What The Hunter Saw’’, a play based on the selection of Tomas Tranströmer (a Swedish) and Wole Soyinka’s poems.

He described works of arts, especially poetry as “a strong tool for preaching culture and societal issues”, pointing out that “Soyinka is a very well-known noble writer in Sweden even before he got his Nobel Prize and his books are in Swedish libraries and book stores. We have a very long tradition with Soyinka which is over 40 years just as Tomas Tranströmer, a Swedish writer, and their works have transformed lives and the society.

“Their great art is international and are very good works of theatre and this calls for collaborative effort to strengthen theatre and culture in the country.’’

The envoy assured the organiser of the event, Mr Jerry Adesewo, director of Arojah Royal Theatre, of continued partnership in promotion of the event.

Adesewo who said the event was in tune with the theatrical initiative and projects called “Cultural Diplomacy Initiative”, described it as “an annual production of plays in collaboration with foreign missions and embassies in Nigeria inaugurated in 2014 to promote and encourage the country’s cultural relationship with foreign countries.”

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“I discovered that Tranströmer died March 26 and I spoke to the embassy and they welcomed the idea because it was his 1-year remembrance. I actually proposed the birthday or the death day and they chose the death day. I proposed it as noble 12, that is the selection of the 12 noble Laureates. We wrote to three and only one responded and that is why we are here today. They said instead of doing the noble twelve they would prefer something exclusive. Just Nigeria and Sweden and that was how we changed it from Noble Twelve to Tranströmer Meets Soyinka,” he explained.

Tranströmer’s poem, such as “April Silence’’ and Soyinka’s poem “Night’’ were recited by members of Arojah Royah Theatre at the event.

Tranströmer is a Swedish poet, psychologist and translator whose poems capture the long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and atmospheric beauty of nature.

His work is also characterised by a sense of mystery and wonder underlying the routine of everyday life. He won Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011and died in 2015.

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