The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) has urged legal practitioners within the vicinity of Lagos to join the SBL team at the Muson Centre in Lagos on Saturday, September 2nd and Thursday, September 7th, 2017 to see the play, ‘Just an Ordinary Lawyer’.
The Play written and produced by Tayo Aluko is about Tunji Sowande, who left Nigeria to study law in Britain and who in 1968 became the first black head of a major barrister’s chambers. Although more diffuse than its predecessor, it is a fascinating show that interweaves politics, music and Sowande’s abiding passion, cricket.
Aluko seizes on the fact that 1968 was a turning point in Sowande’s legal career to bring together the themes that animate the show. We are reminded of that year’s internal conflicts in Africa that were part of the imperialist legacy, of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and of the black power salute by two African-American athletes at the Mexico City Olympics. While deeply aware of all this, Sowande was at the Oval watching Basil D’Oliveira score 158 against the Australians – an event that had political repercussions, as it led to the eventual cancellation of an England tour to South Africa because of D’Oliveira’s Cape Coloured origins.
The play ‘Just An Ordinary Lawyer, has been reviewed by several acclaimed publishers globally. THE WEEK REVIEW gave it a 5-Star rating describing it as, “Powerful, informative, humorous and captivating”. It got a four-star rating from ‘The Guardian and described as fascinating. Counsel Magazine calls it, “Brilliantly … creates the picture of a remarkable, humane and forgiving man,” While the Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC, Canada referred to it as “A brilliant … piece of theatre.” Monday Magazine.
Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko, a Writer, Performer, Producer, is based in Liverpool, UK, where he worked until early 2009 as an architect and property developer, with a special interest in eco-friendly construction.
With his one-man play CALL MR. ROBESON, he won the coveted Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award at the Brighton Festival Fringe in June 2016. He also won the Best Actor, Best Original Work and Impresario awards at the London Fringe in Ontario, Canada in Summer 2012; the Best Solo Show at the Stratford Fringe in June 2013 and the award for Best Musical Performance at the Atlantic Fringe in Halifax, Nova Scotia in September 2013. He sold out all his eighteen performances at the New Zealand and Adelaide Fringes in 2015. The play has also been performed on a number of occasions in Nigeria and Jamaica, to great acclaim, and also at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February 2012.
As a baritone, he won a Gold Medal at the Grand Festival of Festivals held in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the British Federation of Festivals, in competition with other singers and instrumentalist from all over the UK. He appeared as soloist at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, accompanied by the Hallé Orchestra for the opening of the Annual Co-Operative Congress. He has also performed lead roles in various operas and stage musicals including Nabucco, Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes. Oratorio roles have included Faure’s Requiem, Brahms Requiem, Samson, C Minor Mass, Carmina Burana, Elijah and The Messiah. His rendition of GO DOWN, MOSES, recorded on his CD titled RECALLING ROBESON, is featured as the song of the month for July 2008 on the US-based Labor Notes website.
Tayo researched, wrote and narrated to camera a film on the history of West Africa before the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, which forms part of the permanent exhibit at the National Museum Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum. Published writings include articles for the UK’s The Guardian, Morning Star, NERVE Magazine, Liverpool Daily Post and Echo; North West Chronicle; Punch and ThisDay Newpapers in Nigeria, and modernghana.com. He has also written and performed a lecture-cum-concert titled FROM BLACK AFRICA TO THE WHITE HOUSE, which deals with African History, and particularly Black Resistance to White domination, illustrating it with live renditions of Black Spirituals. This has also been performed on three continents.
With The Maltings Theatre, Berwick-upon-Tweed, he developed a new piece titled WHAT HAPPENS? featuring the writings of African American Langston Hughes (with songs from the era), performed to live jazz accompaniment. In October 2013 he produced the inaugural Paul Robeson Art Is A Weapon Festival in Covent Garden, London, which featured speakers and performers from as far afield as South Africa and Canada.
As writer-on- attachment with the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres, he developed this new play titled, JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2016, and features as a mainstage production at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in August 2017.