War Veterans Take To The Stage

 Combat Veteran Players

A real-life Band of Brothers & Sisters

TOBI


Festus Togbeola (also known as Tobi), is a Nigerian-born American. He enlisted in the United States Army on July 3rd, 2003 as an M1A1 Armour Crew member, and has since done three combat tours in Iraq with a combined total of more than three hundred and fifty combat missions in enemy territory. During his time in the army, he won several awards and commendations, not just for traditional military pursuits such as outstanding marksmanship, but also for aspects of soldiering related to performing arts, including being named first ‘Military Idol’ (USAG Schweinfurt) and fifth best singing soldier in the US Army in 2005. 


While deployed with A Co.1-35 AR on a mission on the outskirts of Baghdad in 2008, he was injured in a freak accident in the turret of his Mine Resistance Anti-Personnel vehicle, requiring emergency surgery, redeployment from the theatre of war, and an eventual medical MOS reclassification. He was diagnosed with PTSD and a permanent stress fracture to his right leg. Tobi left the US Army in 2011, worked for Halliburton Energy Services Inc. in Odessa, Texas as an Open Hole Logging Operator and EIT before moving to Europe in 2013 to pursue his studies.


He can speak, read and write German and French and is also proficient in at least four Nigerian languages. In recent times, he took to the stage at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre as Gregory Cox in Roz Willie’s Contact, directed by Stephen Rayne - an Applied Theatre project written for the Buckinghamshire armed forces community as part of the Theatre for Recovery and Legacy Projects. He is currently an MA student of Applied and Participatory 


Theatre in the Drama and Theatre department of the Royal Holloway University of London, and will graduate in 2015. His dissertation focuses on the ethical use of drama as a means to meet the challenges of military communities dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues. His stage credits include roles in plays such as King Emene in Tragedy of a Rebellion, Kurunmi, Who’s Afraid of Tai Solarin, Aikin Mata, Fiddlers on a Midnight Roof, the opera Wanted, The Rally, and Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.