OUR PLAY DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR 2021 IS MR JAMES HENSHAW – FOUNDER OF JAMES ENE HENSHAW FOUNDATION
PROFILE: James Ewa Henshaw.
Between 2000 and 2013 when I returned to Nigeria I was a senior lecturer in Business and Computing at South Thames College, London where I taught on the National and Higher National Diploma courses, and was the Co-ordinator of the Foundation Degree Programme in e-Business under the auspices of Kingston University. My specialisms were Programming, Business Information Systems and Project Management.
The Arts, particularly theatre, has always been my abiding interest, something I probably inherited from growing up with a playwright father. I was deeply involved in student drama while at university. In 1986, I won an Arts Council Bursary for New Writing (Plays), and this led to setting up a theatre company which performed African plays and toured mainly around the North-East of England. Subsequently, I took a post as a Community Arts Development Officer attached to Northern Arts based in Newcastle upon Tyne.
After taking up a teaching career, I continued to be involved with a amateur and semi- professional theatre, and directed plays for the Calabar Union in the United Kingdom.
After the death of my father, spurred by the desire to maintain his literary legacy I set up the James Ene Henshaw Foundation and returned to Nigeria.
The Foundation has since republished 3 plays by the late playwright, Ene Henshaw, and got them back on the English curriculum for secondary schools in a number of States, as well as several universities in the country. Reviving the practice of drama in secondary schools, as well as encouraging the growth of a theatre-going culture in the local community are the main challenges taken on by the Foundation. We are addressing these issues through our PLAYS-TO- SCHOOLS programme and the Season of World Classics which we have opened with SIZWE BANSI IS DEAD.