Wole Oguntokun, the Canada-based Nigerian playwright and theatre director, has passed away. He was 56.


Kayode Peters, a film director, announced Oguntokun’s demise via his Instagram page on Thursday.

Peters, a close friend of Oguntokun, also recalled how they met during his time at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

“I remember that year. I was just cutting my teeth as a professional theatre director. Your search for a director for your script brought you to the University of Lagos and I was your obvious choice,” the post reads.


“I directed your first-ever performance story ‘Who is Afraid of Wole Soyinka’ at various theatres including The prestigious Muson Centre which was graced by the great @wolesoyinkaofficial himself

“Some months later, we started DBN TV’s first comedy series ‘Crossworld Blues’ which you produced and I directed.

“You moved to Canada and never stopped encouraging me to follow suit. I lost a friend, a thespian all through and through, a great mind, a writer so gifted, so loved. Nigeria just lost one of her brightest and bravest


“Is it a coincidence that you chose to leave on the day the world celebrated World Theatre Day?

“This hurts so bad Wole. Laspapi, our own ojojo. I will miss you so so much. Thank you for trusting me with your work. A good man is gone. Rest well my friend, my brother Wole Oguntokun @laspapi.”

It is understood that the playwright died on Wednesday after a brief illness.

Born on July 15, 1967, Oguntokun held a Bachelor of Laws from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). He also obtained Master of Laws (LL.M) and Master of Humanitarian and Refugee Studies degrees from UNILAG and was thereafter called to the Nigerian bar.


He served as a board member of Theaturtle, a Canadian theatre company, and wrote the TV sitcoms ‘Crossworld Blues’ on DBN TV in 1999 and ‘Living Free’ on MBI television in 2002.

Oguntokun was a governing council member of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), a leading Arts and Culture Advocacy Group in Nigeria. He was the artistic director of Theatre Planet Studios and Renegade Theatre.

He was also a culture consultant and dialect coach for the Stratford Festival’s 2022 production of ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ by Wole Soyinka.

Tributes have begun to pour in for the deceased theatre director.


Lala Akindoju, while mourning Oguntokun, recalled her first encounter with the playwright and how she became an actress because of him.

“One Sunday morning, sometime in April 2007, 2 years after I had started acting professionally I dressed up to attend auditions for the first season of Wole Soyinka plays to hold at Terra Kulture,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I got there super early, and I thought the auditions would be quick, alas that was not the case. So after waiting for hours, I was very upset and authoritatively questioned the man who drove in. Imagine my shock when I realised he was the “oga at the top”.

“I apologised profusely but it was too late- the first impression had been made and I was so sure this man was going to throw me out of the auditions. The opposite was the case, he later cast me as “Amope” in “The trials of Brother Jero…that was the beginning of the career I have today.


“In July 2007, I became a full-time actor through Wole Oguntokun’s Jason Vision, with weekly plays at Terra Kulture. I worked across many departments, played many roles, understood the intricacies of productions, met some of the most talented people I know, formed life long friendships, and built some of the strongest networks I have till date.

“Wole allowed me grow, listened to some of my crazy ideas and allowed me execute. He pushed me on so many levels, and though it was not always rosy, I make bold to say that I won’t be the creative I am today if not for Wole Oguntokun.

“Many firsts in my career happened because of him, and I will never forget. Some of my fondest memories on this journey were made at Jason Vision. In those offices at Sabo Yaba, then at Alagomeji.

“His passing away is very sad and for the first time since I was informed, the tears are finally flowing. Laspapi, as he’s fondly called loved theatre so much and contributed so much to the growth and preservation of theatre in Nigeria.

“Thank you for everything Laspapi, I’m grateful that our paths crossed but I’m more grateful that I told you the value you added to my career while you were here.

“We may never see you point those two fingers when you speak, or hear you say “One Time” whenever you are hailed Laspapi, but we will carry the all the memories forever.

“The Girl Whisperer, Laspapi, Head Renegade, Wole Oguntokun, rest easy. It’s a wrap!”

On her part, Comedian Princess, via her Instagram page, wrote: “Rest in peace Wole Oguntokun may God comfort your family @laspapi has taken a bow #thespian #director”.

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