Tradition, Innovation and Change in Contemporary Nigerian Theatre

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Oni, D.
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ANZCA Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia
Contemporary Nigerian Drama and Theatre has undergone various changes in recent times from its traditional mode of the Alarinjo Theatre (Adedeji, 1969) to Western style performances which started in the late 19th Century with the concerts, cantatas and native air operas (Echeruo, 1977). From these early beginnings, the theatre developed with the emergence of Hubert Ogunde on the theatre scene in 1945 (Clark, 1980). From that period until the early 1990’s the theatre survived with performances mainly among the major ethnic groups, particularly the Yoruba Travelling Theatres (Jeyifo, 1984). Other organizations and establishments including universities in Nigeria, cultural centres of Art Councils and private production organizations followed in the involvement in theatrical productions (Oni, 1985, 2002). The paper notes that theatrical performances and the theatre started to merge with the production of celluloid films when Wole Soyinka produced Kongi’s Harvest in 1970. This was followed with the works of such theatre producers as Ade Afolayan and Moses Olaiya and others. It was however the foray of Hubert Ogunde, regarded as the father of modern Nigerian Theatre, that the film medium started to have a truly new dimension. This paper investigates the transition from the traditional/modern live theatre to film/video formats in the Nigerian theatre scene (Haynes, 1997) culminating in the UNESCO ranking of the Nigerian film industry as the second largest in the world. The paper examines the various trends that have occasioned these changes and the innovations that it has brought to the Nigerian theatrical scene.
Scholarly articles
Tradition , Change , Innovation , Theatre and Nigeria , Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Oni, D. (2012). Tradition, Innovation and Change in Contemporary Nigerian Theatre. In Unpublished Paper delivered at ANZCA Conference (pp. 4-6).