Dr Bode Sowande on why he chose Sheffield for his PhD

Bode is from Nigeria and studied for both an MA and a PhD at the University of Sheffield. His opportunities at Sheffield have allowed him to pursue a varied career in the performing arts. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Performing Arts at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria.

Why did you choose the study at Sheffield?

The university was introduced to me by Christopher Heywood, who was my lecturer at the University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria.

Christopher moved to Sheffield and set up The African Literature programme in the English Department. I was a lucky recipient of the Edgar Allen Award which funded my PhD programme.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Sheffield?

I had fun being an actor on the Drama Studio stage, as Othello, directed by David Gregg, with friends like Robert Kay, Martin Liddament, and Jan Southworth; all alumni.

Rob and I are always in contact, and through him, I am in contact with the others. David also directed my play "The Angry Bridegroom" at the Drama Studio. The Green Room was a magnet of creative ideas...

Years after I produced onstage my adaptation of Amos Tutuola's "My Life In The Bush of Gardens" during the Africa '95 Festival in London at the Royal Court Theatre.

The alumnus who was Executive Producer at The Royal Court then was Steve Daldry; that great producer of the London Olympic Opening Ceremony. We all remember the artistic excellence of that opening ceremony. University of Sheffield alumni always shine on.

It's great to be an alumnus of the University Of Sheffield. It's a friendly city, with cold winters. I found it inexpensive with a very cosmopolitan student community. I love Sheffield!!

Dr Bode Sowande

How was studying in the UK different from your home country?

Studying in the UK then made facilities readily available, and the process of study was much faster than in Nigeria at that time.

What is your current job?

I currently lecture at the Department of Performing Arts. Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye State in Nigeria.

What other jobs have you had since you left the University of Sheffield?

  • I have produced plays on Nigerian Television, and plays for the BBC African Service.
  • I have had teaching visits to the University Of Laquila, Italy in 1991, and 1992, and the University Of Turin in 1992.
  • Artistic Residency with 651 Arts, New York,1996, 1997,1998,1999.
  • Recipient Of Rockefeller Bellagio Fellowship, 2000
  • Recipient Of Ford Foundation Grant for the 'Young People Theatre Initiative Programme" Nigeria, 2001

I have a drama group "ODU THEMES" and a drama studio 'ODU THEMES MERIDIAN'

How has your qualification helped you in your career?

It's been excellent.

What is your greatest personal or professional achievement to date?

Difficult to tell. I think being a published playwright, and being active on the Nigerian stage.

What advice would you give to someone from your country who is thinking about studying in Sheffield?

Today, the student should be well funded and should love being international.