By Anibeze Sylvester
Alfa Sule is an evangelical dance drama ministry based in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. Having started in 2002 with only 10 students, the group has grown big and now boasting of more than 40 cast members.
In this interview with TS Weekend, brain behind the drama group, Femi Ajewole, talks about the journey so far.
What is Alfa Sule drama group all about?
Alfa Sule is just an alias of a Christ chosen drama ministry. It is a ministry that propagates the gospel through dance drama. We started in 2002 with about 10 members but now we have increased to 40 members. We had our first ministration on January 18, 2002, and it was successful. We brought creativity into drama, which made everything so fantastic.
How did you come up with the concept of the drama group?
I was teaching in a school before I took drama up as a ministry. The school was preparing for their end-of-the-year party, so I was asked to teach some students drama, because God has bestowed the gift of drama on me. In trying to teach the kids drama, I discovered that they were not really getting it. For example, you ask a kid to play the role of a father, but he cannot really talk like a father. For weeks, I tried to get the best out of them but to no avail. So, I said to myself, ‘why not voice it out and make the students do a demonstration of it?’ I gave it a trial and it was good. To make the rehearsal more interesting and easier, we provided music with the school drum. After the performance, the response we got from the audience was fantastic. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out that way.
Later, I abandoned the idea and went back to school. One day, somebody said ‘is it every one of us that will end up as electrical engineer?’ I was like ‘that is true; I have a gift in me, I can use it to do better things for myself than been an electrical engineer’. So, I shared the vision with my brother, Woli Agba and some of my neighbours, and that was how the whole thing started.
What actually inspired the idea?
The inspiration came from the Holy Spirit. I studied Electrical Engineering at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. For you to come up with that kind of drama concept is not something ordinary. I didn’t learn it from anybody but the Holy Spirit inspired me. If you check out most of our movies, you will see it there. We don’t buy scripts, Holy Spirit writes scripts for us. So, Holy Spirit is the source of our inspiration.
Were you the first group that started dance drama?
Dance drama has been in existence, but one thing we noticed was that they got their messages across through actions and not voice. But our own style is modern dance drama based on choreography and voice. It is like miming; there is a background voice. It’s not like narration but practically voice and action, like doing exactly what you are saying.
What challenges did you face before getting to this stage?
It’s over 14 years now since we started the ministry. We have JS1, JS2 students in the group, so for people to see that children of that age could do something that will touch life, is really incredible. Despite the fact that we use young ones as cast members, people still get the message and are blessed. We just have to convince them that the little ones can also do something that the elderly will appreciate. Another challenge we faced was people harassing us for money. We also face challenges of some ladies trying to be closer than normal. Do you understand what I am trying to say? But we thank God for allowing us stand on our feet.
What do you do aside running the drama ministry?
Initially, when I started, I was working as a teacher. But when God expanded the ministry, I had to quit the job and face the ministry squarely. That’s what I have been doing, and it is the only thing that puts food on my table.
Are you married?
By His grace, I am married and blessed with two kids. I got married in 2010.
What is new about Alfa Sule?
We have two projects on ground. One is a movie to be released by December and it is titled Agbelebu (Cross) and also our annual concert, Evangel Comedy, which is evangelism plus comedy 2016 edition.
Despite been popular, Alfa Sule has been laid back for a while, what could be the cause?
Before, we had a marketer selling our works, but now we are the ones doing it ourselves. Anything the marketer tells you, that’s what you will do. If you ask the marketer to distribute like 20,000 copies, he will tell you he can only distribute 3,000 so the remaining 17,000 is left for you to distribute. But now, there is no marketer again. We are the ones in charge of our marketing. But we really thank God that everything is going smoothly.