Actress, singer, dancer and drummer, Olushola Benjamin said her grandmother is instrumental in laying the foundation of her acting career, which spanned 32 years.
Shola began professional acting after finishing her diploma course in theatre Arts at the University of Port Harcourt.
“While I was young, I would always spend my holidays with my grandmother, Madam Elebutu. While with her, she would take me along to events and occasions where she chants praises of people and that was how I started learning and practicing whenever I return back to my parents,” the Ogun-born thespian recounted.
Those childhood memories stayed with her and informed her decision to get a diploma in Theatre Arts after secondary school.
Speaking further, “I moved to Lagos after school and joined the Performance Studio Workshop, a training institute with the now Prof Chuck Mike as head in 1990. For about three years, i was drilled in other aspects of the performing arts.”
She became adept at playing the Bata and dundun drums and different dances from the major tribes of Nigeria, adding, “I also trained under Isioma Williams, a great dancer, drummer and chereographer who owned Drumsview and there she learnt to play the Riverine and Sakara drums under six months while also gaining dance and singing abilities which had helped me over the years.”
A great lover of the live theatre because of the immediate joy and happiness you see on the faces of the audience, she explained that she developed her chanting talents over the years through research on the various praises that exists in the Yoruba tribe.
Her word, “My art is unique because I can function effectively in all areas of the arts, be it make up, costuming, chereography, acting, drumming, singing and even chanting. I am a complete theatre artiste and I owe my bosses – Chuck Mike, Ben Tomoloju, Isioma Williams, Amatu Braide (now late), Columbus Ironsanga for helping to hone the seed that my grandmother sowed while I was young. I remain eternally grateful.”