1. AN ESSAY ON
Compiled & Submitted by:
GROUP 6; SUBGROUP 1
1. CHUKWUEMEKA Tuoyo George-DRA/2009/021
2. ADEYENUWO Adeniyi Damilola-EGL/2009/052
3. ODERINDE Odunayo Christopher-DCE/2009/116
4. OSUNLANA Abimbola A.-DCE/2009/112
5. AWOPEGBA Adeola D.-DRA/2009/018
6. EGUNJOBI Samson Bobola-DRA/2009/023
7. ASAOLU Gladys Funmilayo-DCE/2009/037
8. MADAMIDOLA Temitope-DRA/2009/031
9. SOLANKE Olusola O.-DRA/2009/047
MRS. TOYIN OGUNDEJI
November 29th, 2012.
What is festival?
For as long as we can remember, man eats to survive, so man farms and when the time for harvest comes, it is usually a time for celebration and to celebrate, man calls a feast from the produce of the harvest. Thus, the origin of the word “Festival” Feast: festival.
Folklorists also believe that the first festivals arose because of the anxieties of early people who did not understand the forces of nature and wished to placate them. According to Wikipedia, a festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration. The beginning of some festival theatres are linked to historic happenings. A festival can be said to be an event that celebrates some unique aspect of community be it religious or individual. Thus we can say that festivals has 3 ideologies on inception i.e. feast, honouring of gods and the dead.
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival. Among many religions, a feast is a set of celebrations in honour of God or gods. A feast and a festival are historically interchangeable. However, the term “feast” has also entered common secular parlance as a synonym for any large or elaborate meal. When used as in the meaning of a festival, most often refers to a religious festival rather than a film or art festival. In the Philippines and many other former Spanish colonies, the Spanish word fiesta is used to denote a communal religious feast to honour a patron saint. In the Christian liturgical calendar there are two principal feasts, properly known as the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas) and the Feast of the Resurrection, (Easter). In the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican liturgical calendars there are a great number of lesser feasts throughout the year commemorating saints, sacred events, doctrines, etc.
Ypres Cat Festival
The Cat Festival or Kattenstoet is held every three years in Ypres, Belgium, and celebrates the history and tradition of felines from around the world. The festivities conclude with a parade of costumed entertainers and floats. In the 12th century the evil spirits associated with cats and witches were expelled by throwing live cats to the ground from the town’s Belfry Tower. Today’s revelers throw toy cats to the throng below.
The word fest derives from the Middle English, from Middle French word festivus, from the Latin word festivus. Festival was first recorded as a noun in 1589. Before it had been used as an adjective from the fourteenth century, meaning to celebrate a church holiday. The etymology of feast is very similar to that of festival. The word “feste” comes from Middle English, from Middle French, from the Latin word festa. Feast first came into usage as a noun circa 1200, and feast was used as a verb circa 1300. A festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration, that is usually religious. There can be many different types of festivals, like Halloween, Saturnalia, and Christmas.
What makes festival theatrical is as we all know, that before any work of art could be termed theatrical, it must have a performer, a space and audience. In accordance to PETER BROOKE quote which says
‘’Give me an empty space and a man to walk across that space and another man to watch him as he crosses the space, behold theatre is born’’
Also in the words of William Shakespeare which says
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’’; As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7,
This can be seen in most of the festivals.
For example in Ekiti State, the Egungun festival, Lagos festival, music awards, film festivals etc are embodied with the 3 basic concepts of theatre as mentioned earlier. So it is therefore stated and proved that FESTIVAL CANNOT BE SEPERATED FROM THEATRE because there will always be a performer, space, and people who watch.
HISTORY of festival theatre in the world
As we can’t place our fingers on the inception of festival theatre, many cultures believe that festival theatre originated from their worlds. For example in Greece dating as far back as 5th century BC, the Greeks held important festivals in honour of their gods. The yearly rites in honour of the resurrection of Dionysus evolved into the structured form of the Greek drama. The most important festival, the Greater Dionysia, was held in Athens for five days each spring. It was for this celebration that the Greek dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote their great tragedies.
In ancient Egypt, most festivals were religious, for example one established by Rameses III to celebrate his victory over the lybians, Ancient Egyptian theatre emerged from ritual practices. For example, a passion play performed annually at Abydos from about 2500 bc to about 550 bc dealt with the death and resurrection of the god Osiris. Although no part of the text remains, references to it suggest it was one of the most elaborate spectacles ever staged and included mock battles, processions, and burial ceremonies. Despite the advanced civilization that developed in ancient Egypt, theatrical activity never progressed beyond ritual, pageantry, burial ceremonies, and commemorations of dead pharaoh.
According to many historians, the very first music festivals were arguably in Ancient Egypt around 4500 B.C., the Pre-Dynastic Period. This particular music festival consisted of religious ceremonies and political fests which featured music and dancing. The first known music festival to be held in Ancient Greece was during the 6th Century B.C. during The Pythian Games. The games were usually held two years before, and after the Olympic Games. Unlike the mainly sports based Olympics, the Pythian Games also consisted competitions for music and also poetry. Smaller versions of the Pythian Games were celebrated in many other cities of the Levant and Greece.
The first known Music Festival known in the 1800’s was the Irish Music Festival back in 1897 in Dublin, Ireland. The first known music festival of the Modern Era was The Berkshire Festival, also known as Tanglewood. The music venue is also an estate, situated in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and has been home to the annual festival since 1937.
The Woodstock Festival was held for the very first time on a 600 acre dairy farm in the town of Bethel, New York. The festival ran for three days from August 15th to 18th in the summer of 1969.
During a sometimes rain-sodden weekend, thirty-two performing artists played in front of an estimated 500,000 concert attendees. Many regard the Woodstock Festival as the greatest and most pivotal moment in popular music history. Rolling Stone Magazine has listed Woodstock as part of the “50 Moments That Changed The History Of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.Major artists that featured on the three day billing included The Who, Joan Baez, Santana, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Aeroplane, The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Joe Cocker. Artists such as The Doors, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Byrds and Joni Mitchell were invited to play but they declined for various reasons.
If you compare an ancient religious ritual to today’s music festivals (Burning Man, Glastonbury et al) there will be many obvious differences; the religious ceremonies, the activities available and the outfits. However, some things stay the same; in Ancient Egypt, people would sing and dance and listen to music at religious rituals and many other ancient festivals would include lots of music just like today’s music festivals have live acts. From 4500 BC there is evidence of singing and dancing at religious festivals but they would also have elements of religion and politics. The first really successful recreational festival took place in Dublin in May 1897. It was called Oireachtas na Gaeilge and it attracted thousands of visitors in its first year which was far more than anticipated. In 1897 it was a half day event. The afternoon activities involved mostly literary competitions and poetry and short story readings. The evening was then taken up by a music concert. Many believe this festival to be the birth of the music festivals that we know and love today. Before then, the only recorded festivals where music, singing and dancing had been widely accepted were religious.
In Africa the people have always had festivals at the time of the harvest, for example according to pongal.com, the Ghanaians celebrate yam festival which they call HOMOWO, and this festival last 3days , in which celebrations occur like dances, competitions etc.The farmers give thanks to the gods who ensure good harvest.
In our motherland Nigeria, from the North the Argungun fishing festival in a little village of Argungun south-west of Sokoto. Arugungu Fishing Festival. This colorful annual festival takes place in Arugungu,(“ar-GOON-goo”), a riverside town in Kebbi State, about 64 miles from Sokoto. The festival originated in August 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu made an historic visit. In tribute, a grand fishing festival was organized. Since then, it’s become a celebrated yearly event held between Feb. and March. During the festival, hundreds of local men and boys enter the water, armed with large fishnet scoops. They are joined by canoes filled with drummers, plus men rattling huge seed- filled gourds to drive the fish to shallow waters. Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish is harvested, from giant Nile Perch to the peculiar Balloon Fish.
Fishers armed with nets and gourds dash into the Sokoto during the annual Argungu fishing festival. This festival is held each February or March, at harvest time, in the little village of Argungu, southwest of Sokoto in northwest Nigeria. About 5,000 people compete to catch the biggest Nile perch, some of which weigh as much as 64 kilograms (141 pounds). Established in the 1930s, the festival includes canoe races and a diving competition.
Furthermore there’s canoe racing, wild duck hunting, bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and naturally, swimming. Afterwards, there is drinking, singing and dancing into the night. The festival marks the end of the growing season and the harvest. A one mile (1.6 kilometer) stretch of the Argungu River is protected throughout the year, so that the fish will be plentiful for this 45-minute fishing frenzy. About 5,000 men take part, armed with hand nets and a large gourd. During the allotted time, they fight for the fish in the river. Nile perch weighing up to 140 pounds (63.5 kg) are pulled out of the river, and the biggest are offered to the local Emirs who organize the festival. This festival began in the 1930s and has captured the nation’s interest. It now includes many other events, such as canoe races and diving competition. In the east the Ofala festival which takes places every November, nine villages par take in this festival which starts from Umiekem and ends in the king’s palace. There are a lot of activities in this festivals ranging from dances to wrestling to songs……
Nigeria has many local festivals that date back to the time before the arrival of the major religions, and which are still occasions for masquerade and dance. The local festivals cover an enormous range of events, from harvest festivals and betrothal festivals, to the investing of a new chief and funerals. It seems odd to Western ways of thinking to see a funeral as something to be celebrated. But for many of the tribes, death means joining the ancestors, and so the deceased must get a good send-off. The dances that were once performed by members of each village have now been taken over by professional troupes, who tour villages performing at each local festival. The Muslim year revolves around the three major festivals, Id Al Fitri, Id Al Kabir, and Id Al Maulud. The main event in the Islamic calendar is the festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month-long observation of fasting. During the hours of sunlight no one must eat or drink; some very religious people will not even swallow. Each evening at dusk is a celebration of sorts, as the family prepares to break the fast. In towns people do so by going out to one of the markets, where stallholders will be prepared for the hungry people. At the end of Ramadan there is a celebration, which varies in style among the different Muslim tribes.The Christian calendar is also celebrated, chielfy in the south of the country. Christian groups have moved closer to the rituals of their indigenous religions when celebrating Christian festivals.
The Durbar festival dates back hundreds of years to the time when the Emirate (state) in the north used horses in warfare. During this period, each town, district, and nobility household was expected to contribute a regiment to the defense of the Emirate. Once or twice a year, the Emirate military chiefs invited the various regiments for a Durbar (military parade) for the Emir and his chiefs. During the parade, regiments would showcase their horsemanship, their preparedness for war, and their loyalty to the Emirate. Today, Durbar has become a festival celebrated in honor of visiting Heads of State and at the culmination of the two great Muslim festivals, Id- el Fitri (commemorating the end of the holy month of Ramadan) and Ide-el Kabir (commemorating Prophet Ibrahim sacrificing a ram instead of his son). Of all the modern day Durbar festivals, Katsina Durbar is the most magnificent and spectacular. Id-el-Kabir, or Sallah Day, in Katsina begins with prayers out side town, followed by processions of horsemen to the public square in front of the Emir’s palace, where each village group, district, and noble house take their assigned place. Last to arrive is the Emir and his splendid retinue; they take up their place in front of the palace to receive the jahi, or homage, of their subjects.
The festival begins with each group racing across the square at full gallop, swords glinting in the sun. They pass just few feet away from the Emir, then stop abruptly to salute him with raised swords. The last and most fierce riders are the Emir’s household and regimental guards, the Dogari. After the celebrations, the Emir and his chiefs retire to the palace, and enjoyment of the occasion reigns. This fanfare is intensified by drumming, dancing and singing, with small bands of Fulanis performing shadi, a fascinating sideshow to behold.
Some festivals are capable of clearly foregrounding one key function while others seek to balance several functions at the same time. The question is with what success and for how long?
• While some festival programmers aim chiefly to inform their public, others go further and strive to highlight, promote and affirm a certain discipline, style, an artistic tendency, a generation, or some individual artists and companies. Therefore, some festivals do not accept only a role of a programmer or presenter of works made elsewhere but assume a role of an active producer or more often of a co-producer, pooling resources and sharing risk with other artistic organizations.
• While initially most festivals aimed to compensate with their selection for the shortcomings and limitations of the established institutional infrastructure and programming in the course of a regular cultural season, today many festival assume the role of an innovative force and opt for a clear developmental function, offering to the professionals ample opportunities for networking, reflection and debate and acquisition of additional competences (master classes, workshops). Those festivals that (co)produce new work create in fact, short-term platforms of international artistic cooperation whose dynamics is in itself worth investigating.
• Celebratory function of festivals stresses the benefits of the local community, such as increased social cohesion, self-awareness and consolidation of the civil society on the micro level.
• Promotional function of festivals is visible in their effort to make their location known and appealing as a tourist destination and to enrich its tourist offer.
• Economic function of the festivals means that they strive to create new (albeit temporary) jobs and increase local consumption.
• Political function is being manifested in the ambition of the festivals to affirm certain political relationship (for instance, festival of Polish music in Slovenia) or political concept (drama festival of francophone).
• Educational role of the festivals is revealed in their impact on the audience, participants, staff and volunteers, advancing their appreciation of arts but also their intercultural competence.
Festivals have many values beyond the public’s enjoyment of a celebration. In pre historic societies, festivals provided an opportunity for the elders to pass on folk knowledge and the meaning of tribal lore to younger generations. It serves as a means for unity among families and for people to find mates. It also serves to meet specific needs, as well as to provide entertainment. Festivals celebrating the founding of a nation or the date of withdrawal of foreign invaders from its borders bind its citizens in a unity that transcends personal conerners. Modern’s festivals and feast centring on the customs of national or ethnic groups enrich understanding of their heritage. Contemporary festivals related to regional development, such as westward expansion on the North American continent aid the local economy by attracting visitors to a pageant of historic authenticity that also fulfils an informal educational function. Others include MTV music awards, lagos carnivals, film festivals, edinburg festivals. We can also see other forms of theatre in play here which are the private theatre, community theatre private owned theatre in play………….
Festivals, of many types, serve to meet specific needs, as well as to provide entertainment. These times of celebration offer a sense of belonging for religious, social, or geographical groups. Modern festivals that focus on cultural or ethnic topics seek to inform members of their traditions. In past times, festivals were times when the elderly shared stories and transferred certain knowledge to the next generation .Select anniversaries have annual festivals to commemorate previous significant occurrences.
Festivals are players in the urban politics of space and location, they are capable of achieving a certain re-mapping of the city in the minds of its inhabitants and visitors, to challenge habitual perceptions of the urban environment, dispel prejudices and “common truths” about some neighborhoods, create alternative routes for the curious and set out new paths of mobility.
With festivals, the question “where?” often means “who”: the location determines the participation and implies a certain target audience. The choice of location is not just a matter of decentralization, discovery, recycling and appropriation of alternative sites and possibly their subsequent steady usage, but also a matter of inclusion, engagement and stimulation of some population groups and inhabitants from some urban quarters. Festivals also revitalize and valorize chosen objects of cultural heritage
Types of festivals
There are numerous types of festivals in the world. Though many have religious origins, others involve seasonal change or have some cultural significance. Also, certain institutions celebrate their own festival (often called “fests”) to mark some significant occasions in their history. These occasions could be the day these institutions were founded or any other event which they decide to commemorate periodically, usually annually. According to Wikipedia, free encyclopaedia, there are four types of festival theatre. They are seasonal festival, religious festival, secular festival and cultural festival.
Naadam Festival, Ulaanbaatar
The Nadaam Festival is held each July in Ulaanbaatar, capital of the Republic of Mongolia. This colorful celebration of traditional Mongolian sporting activities includes horseback riding, wrestling, and archery. The horse races shown here are held on open terrain for children aged 5 to 12.
Cultural festivals: It is a type of festival whereby people of the same cultural background, norms, beliefs, values, tradition and knowledge come together to celebrate their culture. In Nigeria, there are diversity of culture and each of these culture have a festive period either to their gods or deity, but there are three ethnic groups that are more recognized than the others; they are Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo; Egungun festival (Yoruba), Argungun festival. There is also the Stratford festival under this section. It is an annual event since 1953, a world-famous drama festival that lasts more than six months. It features productions of the play of William Shakespeare and other playwrights, performed.
Yoruba festivals honor their pantheon of gods and mark the installation of a new Oba. The Egungun (“en-GOON-gun”) festival, which honors the ancestors, lasts 24 days. It is celebrated through the custom or masquerade. An elder from the egungun family called “Alagba” sometimes presides over the ancestral rites, but egungun priests are the ones in charge of invoking the spirit of the Ancestor and bringing them out. The invocation is done when the egungun worshippers dance, drums, and possessed by the ancestral spirits, that they beat everybody they see with their whips. They believe using the whip against people could help to clean the community from wickedness. After this, the egungun priest advice, warn and pray for their spectators, and people give them money which evidently results to the priests becoming richer. Each day, a different Egungun in the person of a masked dancer dances through the town, possessed by one of the ancestors. On the last day, a priest goes to the shrine of the ancestors and sacrifices animals, pouring the blood on the shrine. The sacrifices are collected, and they become the food for the feast that follows.
Another example is the Benin Festival which takes place at the end of the rainy season, after the harvest has been gathered. It is partly a kind of harvest festival but also serves another purpose – eligible young men and women of the village are displayed before each other to be ritually acquainted. The festival occurs once every four years, and only the very wealthy can afford to have their children take part in the matchmaking ceremony. But all the villagers are able to join in the festival atmosphere. In the past, the young girls who took part in the festival traditionally wore no clothing, but in modern times, because nudity is frowned upon, they are clothed. The chief parts of the girls’ display are the numerous heavy armlets and leg ornaments that they wear. They are so heavy that the girls must hold their arms over their heads during the entire festival, in order to support the weight of them. Their hair is intricately plaited with coral beads. Both boys and girls have elaborate markings painted on their bodies. The boys also take part in a tug- of-war as a demonstration of their strength.
Another is the Ibo Celebration of Onitsha Ivories. In the past, Ibo society centred on subsistence farming, so few Ibo people became wealthy. Power in Ibo communities was based on the good standing of the man, rather than the extent of his wealth. But in more recent times, social status and wealth have become more important to the Ibo. While many of the old traditions are dying out, the Onitsha ivories festivals are becoming more common. The title of the ivory holder can be claimed by any woman who has collected enough ivory and coral to fit herself out in the costume. Usually, these women are the wives of rich men, or women who have become successful in business and can buy their own ivory. The woman has to have two huge pieces of ivory, one for each leg. The pieces have been known to weigh up to 56 pounds (25 kilos) each. In addition, two large pieces must adorn the wrists. Thousands of dollars worth of coral and gold necklaces is also worn. Once she has accumulated all this, the woman must finance a feast for as many people as possible. A special priest carries out a purification ceremony for the ivories. The next stage of the process is even more elaborate. A woman with a full set of ivories can take the title of OZO (“OH-zoh”). In addition to her ivories, the elaborate and expensive embroidered white gown, and coral and gold ornaments, the woman must acquire an ivory trumpet and a horsetail switch. Men can also take this title. When a ceremony for a new Ozo takes place, all the similarly titled women dress up in their ivories and attend the celebration to mark the occasion. Festivals preserve a nations or country’s heritage. Countries pay a lot of emphasis on their local customs. These festivals can last for a long period of time and can be very hectic. Most festivals as they exist at present focus on luxury spending and hence deprive the poor e.g. How the Christmas is celebrated nowadays with a lot of gifts and a fancy Christmas tree and the actual essence of the festival is forgotten. The firecrackers or fireworks used in different festivals like celebrating New Year can be pretty dangerous especially for kids.
Seasonal festivals: Seasonal festivals are determined by the solar and the lunar calendars and by the cycle of the seasons. The changing of the season was celebrated because of its effect on food supply. Ancient Egyptians would celebrate the seasonal inundation caused by the Nile River, a form of irrigation, which provided fertile land for crops. In the Alps, in autumn the return of the cattle from the mountain pastures to the stables in the valley is celebrated as Almabtrieb. A recognized winter festival, the Chinese New Year, is set by the lunar calendar, and celebrated from the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice. An important type of seasonal festivals is those related with the agricultural seasons. Dree Festival of the Apatanis living in Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh is one such important festival, which is celebrated every year from July 4 to 7 praying for bumper crop harvest. Seasonal festivals are determined by the solar and the lunar calendars and by the cycle of the seasons. Ancient Egyptians would celebrate the seasonal inundation caused by the Nile river, a form of irrigation, another is the Chinese new year which is set by the lunar calendar other examples include Christmas, new year, independence day, etc .
Oktoberfest attracts millions of visitors in Munich, Germany; the festival has been held annually in the city since 1810. During the festival, throngs of people crowd into beer tents to socialize, listen to live music, and sing traditional drinking songs.
Secular festivals: This is a type of festival that is not related to any religion or culture. There are many type of secular festivals but just two types would be discusses. The music festival – it is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians or holiday. They are commonly held outdoors, and are often inclusive of other attractions such as food and merchandise vending, performance, arts and social activities. It usually feature a line up of musicians with performances often spread out over several days and several performances. Examples include Experience Lagos, Redefinition by Bouqui in OAU. Another type of music festival is the educative type, organised annually in local communities, regionally or nationally, for the benefit of amateur musicians of all ages and grades of achievement. While entrants’ perform prepared pieces in the presence of an audience which includes competitors, the essential feature of this type of festival is that each participant receives verbal and written feedback, there and then, from a highly qualified, professional adjudicator – someone whom they might never meet in any other way. They also usually receive certificates, classified according to merit and some may win trophies. Examples of this are MTN Project Fame, Nigerian Idol, and American Idol etc.
The other type is the film festival and an example is The New York Film festival which was created to showcase independent films from around the world that might not get seen otherwise. It lasts 17 days and includes both features and shorts, from established film makers and new talents. It is currently sponsored and directed by the Film Society.
Religious festivals: Include Christmas, Osun Osogbo festival, Eyo festival etc. Eyo Festival which is unique to Lagos area, and it is widely believed that Eyo is the forerunner of the modern day carnival in Brazil. On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to Iga Idunganran. Here, the participants all pay homage to the Oba of Lagos. Eyo festival takes place whenever occasion and tradition demand, but it is usually held as the final burial rites for a highly regarded chief. Among the Yoruba, the indigenous religions have largely given way to Christianity and Islam, but the old festivals are still observed. The traditional leaders of the Yoruba are the Obas, who live in palaces and used to govern along with a council of ministers. The Obas’ position is now mainly honorary, and their chief role is during the observance of the festivals.
Another example is the Sango festival celebrates the god of thunder, an ancestor who is said to have hanged himself. Lasting about 20 days, sacrifices are made at the shrine of the god, in the compound of the hereditary priest. On the final day, the priest becomes possessed by the god and gains magical powers. He eats fire and swallows gunpowder. The procession again goes off to the Oba’s palace and the feast begins, accompanied by palm wine, roast meat, and more dancing. In the past, the priest of this cult would have been a very rich and powerful man. With the decline in power of the Obas, and the large numbers of people who no longer profess to believe in the old pantheon of gods, the priests of the Yoruba are much poorer and less powerful than they once were.
Funding of festival theatre
Funding in this aspect can be traced back to the ancient times in Rome where the government help fund festivals in honour of themselves or their gods, examples of this are the gladiator games in which the govt or rich individuals put in their money as a sign of respect or power. Others ways of funding include taxes, private organisations, communities. Example is the Edinburgh festival which generates their funding from the city of Edinburgh council, the arts founding agency and Scottish govt which ranges over 5.3mill pounds. Another example is the Lagos carnival which is sponsored by the Lagos state government
However keen you are, it is highly unlikely that you can organise an event on your own – you need a group. Groups often form around the desire to run a festival or event with the celebration of a theme, art form or sport in mind. This usually starts off being an informal grouping but as soon as the group starts to handle money then a formal statement of roles and responsibilities and decision-making becomes necessary.
A group can take the form of a committee set up for the purpose, or for a longer term approach possibly a company with a Board of Directors/Trustees. You should allocate clear roles to each individual within the team, so everyone knows what they are doing and what is expected of them.
Are you clear about what your group is going to do and why you are planning a festival or event?
Consider the following questions:
Why are you proposing to set up a group?
How are you going to organise yourselves?
When will you need to be operational?
What expertise do you have and what might you need to bring in?
What resources are you going to need?
How are you going to publicise your event?
Statement of Purpose
Community Interest Companies
Impact on the Wider Community
Constitutions and Legal Status
Planning a marketing campaign
Getting Charitable Status
Making Committees Work for You
Organising a festival
This information sheet and checklist provides an overview of some of the most important issues you need to consider in relation to the organisation of a festival. You can use it as the basis for putting together a business plan or for your own checklist when putting together the festival.
In this information sheet:
Role & festival objectives
How will decisions be made?
Raising the money
Employees and volunteers
When you organise a festival on your own or get together with a group of other people to organise a festival there are a lot of legal issues you will need to consider beyond the artistic and creative considerations. This information sheet and checklist provides an overview of some of the most important issues you will need to consider and can be used as the basis for putting together a business plan or your own checklist to be used when putting together the festival. At the back of this document is a checklist that can be used by festival organisers and participants as they organise the festival. You will need to seek more detailed advice in relation to the issues raised in this information sheet.
Certain business issues should be looked into i.e. hw much money could be made from the festival, what business are you or organisation trying to build etc.
Role & festival objectives
There are a number of things that should be considered when putting together a festival and the purpose is one of the most important. Whilst this may not seem like a legal issue, the purpose of the festival may indicate what type of business structure you will chose. You should consider:
• What is the purpose of the festival? This should be set out in the business plan.
• What are the objectives of the festival? Is the main objective to make a profit, or to promote the arts?
• Is it a one-off or recurrent event?
• What role will you take on? Will you be the manager?
• What roles will other people play? What kind of responsibilities will they have?
• Where will the festival take place?
The business structure of the festival organising body is extremely important. This means taking into account tax considerations, the liabilities of the organisers and whether the organisation wants to organise the festival on a profit or non-profit basis. If the festival organisers are planning on applying for funding then they may want to consider incorporating as a non-profit organisation so they can apply for funding grants. Choosing a business structure means considering the pros and cons of different structures and what best suits the organisation and its aims. Some of the options include:
• Incorporated Association;
• Company limited by guarantee; and
• Proprietary limited company.
How will decisions be made?
Will they be made by the Festival Manager or Director, or by group discussion? And who will be responsible for making the financial and administrative decisions? If you are an incorporated organisation, such as an incorporated association or a company limited by guarantee then your structure will dictate the type of decision making process you need to follow.
Preparing a detailed budget is really important. You should try and get as many quotes as possible and get hard figures to include in your budget.
Raising the money
If your festival will be funded by a funding body, such as a State, Territory or Commonwealth funding body, you should communicate with them and find out exactly what the funding body requires. Make sure you find out early so that you can take these requirements into account and then report back to the funding body later on. If your organisation is not an incorporated body you will need to consider whether your organisation will need to be auspiced? If this is the case you should draw up an agreement with the auspicing body.
You will also need to keep detailed records of funding and money coming in and money spent on the festival. If the funding bodies grant you money, they will want to know how it has been spent. For example, most funding bodies will require you to provide an acquittal and report back on how the funding was spent and to make sure you account for all the money. Most commercial sponsors will also want to receive financial statements and will require you to report how their money has been spent. You will also need to keep comprehensive records for tax purposes.
Is there are a risk management plan in place? Are warning signs to be used or given? Are waivers with participants to be used? The festival organisation (if it is incorporated) and/or the festival organisers may be liable if someone is injured during the festival. Risk management plans should be developed and festival organisers should seriously consider whether or not they need to obtain insurance.
• If the festival organisation does not incorporate then the members of the group may be personally liable for any financial losses or any damages that flow from the festival. If the festival is small the group may decide that the risk is small, but if the project is fairly large then further advice on risk management and liability should be sought.
• Some of the different types of insurance that may be needed to protect members of the group organising the festival include: public liability; property & equipment; product liability; transit; income protection; directors & officers; workers compensation; volunteers; professional indemnity; non-appearance; cancellation and abandonment. For further information see the Arts Insurance Handbook, available from Arts Law. The insurance costs will also need to be included in the budget.
• It may also be worth considering what will happen if the festival makes a loss and who will be responsible. This will depend on the type of business structure you choose and whether the individual festival organisers are liable for the loss or whether the organisation is liable.
Employees and volunteers
How will income be allocated? How will organisers, performers and workers be paid? Will they be paid during the festival or afterwards? Will their payment be based on a salary? Will you have volunteers who are unpaid? You will need to take into consideration your obligations to both employees and volunteers.
Other issues such as tax obligations, venue hire, liquor licensing, and safety issues for fireworks and the provision of food and beverages at the festival will also need to be taken into consideration.
Now the fun begins! Beyond the nitty-gritty of the business issues of running a festival you will need to think about the legal issues that surround the more creative aspects of the festival.
There will need to be clear consideration of the different types of intellectual property you will be dealing with during the festival. You will need to consider who owns works that are created for the purpose of the festival and who owns works that you would like to use as part of the festival. For example, if artists at the festival intend to perform material written by other people you will need to get clearances and licences to perform these works. Or if the works are made for the festival by individuals or as a collaborative project, it is important to decide who owns the rights.
COSTUME AND MAKE-UP AS AN INDESPENDABLE ART IN THE FESTIVAL THEATRE
Festival can be defined as an artistic display that is used to celebrate beliefs, concepts and culture. It is also used to celebrate events
As known that theatre is the oldest form of the arts. And having said that, one of the basic things festival theatre does is celebration and the use of artistic display than costume and make up plays a vital role in festival theatre.
Costume and make up distinguishes one festival from another and it also tells more about who and what is being celebrated eg the traditional worshippers of esu, osun sango have special costume and make up that differentiates them even though they are all worship of gods in the Yoruba land. Sango who is believed to be the god of lightning and thunder is celebrated with the worshippers being dressed in red because red is known to be identified with fierce, war or anger. And as for Osun worshippers, they are known to put on white as white signifies purity, innocence, virtuousness and Osun is believed to be one of those.
Costume and make up adds value to a festival and a very good example is Lagos festival, Calabar festival, Abuja festivals; one of the things that pulls crowd to this festival is the colourful display of their costume and make up and this makes people attend them every year and even those who are not opportune to attend watch it on televisions or check for pictures on social media.
Another good example of the usage of costume and make up is the sports sector and a very good example is the Olympics; where different countries come together to celebrate themselves and their sport talent. The first which is the opening day and the last which is the closing day are always days that draw attentions from audience nationwide. The opening day is where each country identifies herself as one of the participant or the festival and they put on their cultural attires and it is always interesting and colourful.
Another sports festival is the premier league where different clubs come together to play football matches and these draws spectator who dress in their club’s official colour with matching masks and painted body. This shows how much costume and make up does in the festival theatre. It cannot but identify the role each participant of a festival theatre plays since am not just talking about festival but festival theatre and starting from my first example of the traditional worship of Osun and Ogun. The performers are the initiates, the yeye osun, the Sango priest, the calabash carrier and the audience are the spectators i.e. the invited guest, people of the land and the visitors amongst them and the stage is Osun groove, Sango shrine or wherever it is being performed.
My second example is the Calabar festival, Lagos festival and Abuja festival. The performers are the participants who put on colourful clothes, audience are the Lagosians and people who have come to watch and the stage is wherever it is being performed.
And as for the sports festival, the players are the performers, their fans and spectators are the audience and the field is the stage. It is an obvious and clear issue that costume and make up cannot be separated from festival theatre.
• It is an intense outburst of seeing life from many perspectives.
• It opens our minds to fresh ways of viewing the world and communication of ideas.
• It helps keep our culture in balance.
• It enhances mutual relationships among people and countries.
• It helps in celebrating legends.
• It enhances richness in tradition and culture.
• It showcases talents of all forms from singing to dancing, acting acrobatics etc.
• Unification of different societies e.g. comic con festival in America.
• It serves as a means of foreign investment.
• It serves as a source of government revenue.
• Promotion of contemporary Culture in the Modern world.
• As enjoyable festival theatre is there are still some perks involved in it. This includes Unhealthy rivalry, these creates competition between various groups engaged in the festival
• Gender inequality in some cases: some festivals are restricted to men only, this is so because women are seen as weaker vessels and are believed to be fiddle in matters of interest.
• It sometimes leads to chaos or commotion
In conclusion, festival and theatre cannot be separated for as we all know, festival is a form of theatre; be it musical, cultural, secular and all other forms of festival theatre, all have the intentions to educate, entertain, unify people of different backgrounds and different cultures. It could take the form of a commercial theatre, community theatre, non-for-profit theatre and so on. As long as the intentions are theatrical; that is to say, all roads leads to theatre.
U.T.T (UNIVERSITY TRAVELLING
SCHOOL OF DRAMA
ACTING COMPANY (SDAC) 1967
UNIVERSITY THEATER ARTS COMPANY (UTAC) 1979
THE UNIBADAN MASQUE (T.U.M) 1974
UNIBADAN PERFORMING COMPANY (UPC) 1980
UNIBADAN PERFORMING TROUPE/UNIBADAN
THEATRE ARTS TROUPE (1987- 1998)
TABLE OF CONTENT
Introduction of topic
The movements ( theatre movements in
2.1 University travelling
theatre (UTT 1961)
2.2 Aims and
2.3 Funding and
3.1 School of drama acting
company (1967) SDAC
5.1 Unibadan performing company
6.1 University of Ibadan
theatre Arts troupe (UITAT) or (UTAT) (1987-1998)
6.2 Challenges of UPC
7.1 (UITAT) university Ibadan theater arts
In keeping with the primary preoccupation of this essay which
is Unibadan masque and troupe, we must first attempt to address the
concept of theatrical activities in Unibadan. It is relevant to
define the different theater movements that gave birth to the
masque and troupe.
University of Ibadan formerly called
University College Ibadan was originally established in 1949. The
concern for the development of a professional theatre in Nigeria
probably predated the origin of the UTT. The remarkable works of
the ATPG (Art Theatre Performing Group) and several amateur groups
at the then University College Ibadan led to the birth of the UTT.
The then HOD of the Department of English and Literary Studies)
Molly Mahood invited Geoffery Axworthy a renowned art lover and
teacher in the college to be part of the administrators in the
newly established school of drama. It is noteworthy that already
there was a constructed art theatre in 1955/56. The school of drama
admitted students based on talents and zest for drama, their
academic prowess was secondary.
The closure of the art
theater to the public while it was undergoing physical alterations
in order to rectify the inadequacies in meeting the professional
demands, proved very auspicious to the development of the
theatrical movements. The students out of sheer enthusiasm decided
to take productions to the audiences wherever they might be, and it
was their hall of residence that immediately occurred to them, and
then they started moving nationwide.
Theatre in Unibadan was the first embodiment of professional,
commercial and educational theatre. This will be extrapolated in
chapters ahead. From the above, we can infer that the implication
of the UCIDS (University College Ibadan Drama School) action
pioneered a traveling theatre tradition at Ibadan.
UNIVERSITY TRAVELING THEATRE (UTT 1961)
emergence of UTT was a notable millstone in the dissemination of
theater education and practice in Nigeria. Adedokun (1988) noted
that it evolved in three phrases as follows:
itinerant programs touring student’s halls and villages around
Ibadan after the closure of the art theater.
university traveling theater in collaboration with Axworthy
supported by university grants and commercial firms prepared for
nationwide tours (1961-1963).
As university travelling
theatre on wheels with mobile Elizabethan stage equipped with
technical facilities prepared for national and international
This represents a period of
growth in maturity and theatrical expertise. The management staff
changed and commercial organizations were wooed for financial aids.
The first production of the UTT was “That Scoundrel Suberu” (1961)
followed by” The Taming of the Shrew” (1962) and The Comedy of
Errors” (1963). The productions are essentially comedies targeted
at school audiences and this accounted for their massive support
from school children. Professor Sonny Obi, a major participant in
the traveling theatre activities provided an excellent summary of
events in his accounts:
‘… The Ibadan University traveling
Theater was actively touring nationally
With a repertoire of
teaching aid plays.
That rallied grammar students in
Centers across the country during Easter
They toured with excerpts from Julius Caesar,
Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV, and Twelfth Night and
in 1965, it toured with Danda an adaptation of Nkem Nwankwo’s
novel. The sudden detour of the travelling theatre after “That
Scoundrel Suberu” to the retention of the original titles of plays
adapted or the complete shifting of interest to Shakespeare plays
from 1962- 1964 should not be seen as a betrayal of the earlier
avowed commitment to the development of African drama. As earlier
observed theatre policy at Ibadan was not based on a watertight
management creed, and since its evolution was prompted by
accidental and circumstantial occurrences, it could not but be
responsive and pliable to circumstances.
outcome of the 1961 tours suggested a nationwide tour with a
popular dramatic literature test. Although, Nigerian plays were yet
to emerge to complete classic plays on school curriculum at the
time. Axworthy felt that in the absence of popular Nigerian plays
European plays would be ideal.
A completely unique
innovation known as “theatre – on – wheels’ was introduced into the
Travelling theatre practice in 1964. The 1964 production coincided
with the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of
William Shakespeare. Axworthy approached the British council which
was organizing it and a festival of excerpts from Shakespeare’s
plays was mutually agreed upon to be taken round the country. It
was decided that a raveling stage in the form of the Elizabethan
stage be constructed to facilitate production mobility. The
transportation of the stage brought the idea of a stage – on –
wheels carried by a trailer. Brown credited this to Axworthy.
2.2 Aims and objectives of university
travelling theatre UTT 1961.
(1988) listed the aims and objectives as follows:
1. The dissemination of theatre education
and practice in Nigeria. That is, they took plays to students’
halls of residence and villages around Ibadan and other parts of
Nigeira like Lagos, Aba, Ugo, Calabar, Enugu etc.
2. They also aimed at establishing
professional and academic theatre studies at Ibadan University.
That is, prior to this time, performance were done by amateur or
semi professional actors and actresses. But when this theatrical
movement emerged, the head of the troupe Geoffery Axworthy invited
Ogunmola’s theatre for a one year collaborative work with the
Unibadan traveling theatre. So there was an exchange of ideas
between Ogunmola and Axworthy. And the students learnt some
3. One of their
objectives was also the adaptation of plays to reflect ethnic
diversity and unity. They performed African plays. An example of
this is the text titled Danda. It was performed in Igbo, Pidgin and
traveling theater also aimed at performing plays that deepened
students’ knowledge of some dramatic literature texts, that is,
apart from the fact that they performed African plays, they also
went to grammar schools to perform Shakespearean texts such as
Julius Caesar, Macbeth Twelfth night. These performances made
students’ study of dramatic literature text less tedious because
they understood better when they saw those performances.
5. During this period, they decided that a
travelling stage in form of the Elizabethan stage be constructed to
facilitate production mobility. The transportation of stage brought
the idea of stage-on-wheels carried by a
2.3 Funding and challenges leading to the
exit of the University traveling theater (UTT)
UTT was a non-for-profit theater, the university itself was a
generous sponsor. The whole project was financed in 1961 to 1962
from research grant.
There were donations from the
Shell Company of Nigeria who gave a trailer, and the United African
Company (UAC) gave money for building a stage on the trailer in the
tradition of a globe theater.
The production also
provided various opportunities for all those involved, artistes,
technicians, and administrators alike.
There was also
an illuminating epilogue to the organizational ingenuity of the
University Travelling Theatre culled from a correspondent
report of April 2, 1966 on Danda in West African
Magarine which reads:
“The play was performed in
almost all big towns of Southern Nigeria, including Lagos, Ibadan,
Abeokuta, Ijebu – Ode, Benin – Onitsha, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Aba,
Uyo, Calaba, and Engugu. When it was all over, Pierre Lagues,
Nigerian sales manager of CFAO and Geoffery Axworthy the director
and originator of the travelling theatre, agreed that it had been a
most stimulating and successful experiment. The company which had
already paid for the press advertising for the tour presented a
brand new mini motor to the school, for use in developing its
projects. This is not, of course, the first time the travelling
theatre has attracted such patronage. The trailer on which
theatre-on-wheels is constructed was donated by Shell B.P. for the
all Nigeria Shakespeare festival tour of 1964. Other firms provided
haulage, drivers, and fuel. The British council as well made an
outright donation of E1000. The Electricity Corporation of Nigeria
laid on electric power at all points at a nominal charge, while
others lent tents for dressing rooms, buses for Cast transport and
many other items…”
University Travelling Theatre (UTT) through its nation-wide tours,
adaptation of plays to reflect ethnic diversity and unity,
conveniently simulated a national troupe and it has also been the
main impetus for the inexorable quest for the establishment of a
professional troupe that would serve as a model national theatre.
The exit of Geoggrey Axwarthy prematurely terminated the University
Traveling Theartre (UTT). But fortunately, a solid foundation had
been laid for future acting companies to build upon, and that
acting company was the “School of Drama Acting
3.1 THE SCHOOL OF DRAMA ACTING COMPANY
It was a most welcome gesture and an overt recognition
of Wole Soyinka’s theatrical preeminence when he was appointed the
director of the school of Drama in August 1967. It was anticipated
that a well-guided, African-oriented cultural policy would emanate
from the university once Soyinka commenced his programmes. The
UCIDS was most enthusiastic about the appointment, reveling in the
hope of a more meaningful relationship with the school of Drama.
Dapo Adelugba, the past president of UCIDS had also taken up
appointment with the school. To Soyinka himself, it was a moment of
great challenge to groom Nigerian literary theatre and offer a
model professional troupe which he had attempted in his private
experiments with the 1960 masks and the Orisun Theatre.
But barely one month in office, and while he was yet writing
the objectives of the school’s acting company, the Federal
security agents arrested him during the long vacation of 1967 and
clamped him into detention where he remained till October, 1969.
While Soyinka was in custody, Dexter Lyndersay
deputized for him as Acting Director of the school of Drama and
Dapo Adelugba took over the guardianship of the acting company in
1967. Before his arrest, Soyinka had engaged Betty Okotie as a
foundation member of the modality of organizing the troupe with a
mandate that “Mr. Adelugba is to organize the training scheme,
assisted by Miss Sowunmi and Betty Okotie”.
The absence of the substantive director
affected the company adversely. The acting company could not
function independently as the full-fledged professional company
that it was supposed to be, due to a number of factors associated
with the employment of actors and the funding of the programme.
Instead of abandoning the project as a result of the invalidating
effects of these factors, the operation shifted gear to a drastic,
yet imaginative style by changing to a six-month training programme
similar to the present Extra- Mural Theatre workshop (ETW)
programme of the department. Trainee actors/ actresses participated
in a number of stage, radio and television plays to sustain the
company till wole Soyinka was released in 1969.
Although its productions were not
especially remarkable in terms of professionalism and nation-wide
tours as those of the University Travelling Theater, the acting
company achieved unique artistic novelty in the ad hoc training
scheme. It created a precedent which was difficult for subsequent
Acting Companies to emulate Adelugba, the director of the company
narrated his experience as follows:
“We started out
with the aim of producing actors.
What we did in
fact produce was a corps of
theatre practitioners with a fair amount of knowledge
competence in the various departments of the arts of
theatre and an ability to perform not only on the stage
also on radio, television and eventually became a
Company during the long vocation (July to September, 1968).
The company played not only in Ibadan but also in other towns in
the western state of Nigeria and Lagos. A projected tour of the
country had to be cancelled due to administrative and weather
Considering the amount of activities
undertaken by the acting Company as related to stage and media
productions, a lot of energy must have been expended. Most of the
television plays were adapted for stage. If the Acting Company
under Adelugba seems to lack the glamour of Axworthy’s U.T.T., it
excelled in its indigenization of preparatory and the nurturing of
new African plays and playwrights, notable among whom is Wale
Ogunyemi who wrote eight plays for the company. This gave Adelugba,
as a past activist of UCIDS, the privilege of continuing the
development of African theatre which had been started by the UTT
between 1961 and 1966
was released in October 1969, he took over the Acting Company from
Dapo Adelugba, who now assisted him. Soyinka re-examined the
existing training programme, modified it where necessary and
started a new Acting company from the old and new entrants, called
the University Theatre Arts Company (UTAC) to reflect the
conversion of the school of Drama to the Department of Theatre
4.1 University Theatre Arts
company (UTAC 1970)
On the 1st of
October, 1970 the school of Drama obtained senate approval for its
conversion to a full academic department offering degree courses of
Theatre Arts and related courses in Theatre, Architecture,
Psychology and Drama, Aesthetics, Drama in Africa, philosophy and
Drama, Music, American Black Theatre etc.
school of Drama Acting Company was changed to the University
Theatre Arts Company to reflect the conversion to an academic
The UTAC was inaugurated
with Wole Soyinka’s new play ‘Madmen and Specialists’. It was a
matter of coincidence that soon after Soyinka was released from
detention he was invited to participate at the month-long
conference of playwrights at the Eugene O’ Neill Theatre centre,
Waterford, Connecticut where he premiered ‘Madmen and Specialists’
Soyinka prepared the UTAC
for the Waterford conference, bringing the incipient troupe and the
university into another international limelight after Nancy.
After its successful performance at
Waterford, Soyinka explained that the troupe later/New York
University Arts Centre, rounding off the tour in Harlem where the
company played to full capacity audience. As a result of this
successful outing, the troupe was invited to return with a
production for the opening of the Annenberg Creative Arts Centre at
the University of Philadelphia in February, 1971. But this was not
honoured. However, on return home the UTAC performed a new version
of ‘Madmen’ at Ibadan and Ife in January and March, 1971,
The life of UTAC was
very short but very eventful. Within that short period its
repertoire included ‘Madmen and Specialists’ by Soyinka, ‘Esu
Elegbara’ by Ogunyemi, ‘Akara Oogun’ by Osanyin, ‘The Jar’ by
Piradelo, ‘The Triology’ by Dutchman, ‘The fantastic’ and ‘After
this we Heard of Fire’ directed by Lyndersay. All the groups
involved utlilized the technical assistance and management
facilities of the Department of Theatre Arts. Adedokun (1988)
noted, ‘Wole Soyinka informed us that the staff participated in the
artistic side of a number of productions and in some cases actually
directed the plays. Soyinka did not monopolize the opportunities
that his position afforded him but encouraged others to develop in
their own different theatrical directions. As a result, works of
younger playwrights were given a trial at the Arts Theatre.’
The Acting Company (UTAC) was disbanded in April 1971 due to
what Adelugba described as “administrative and financial
difficulties”, after a seven-month operation.
Soyinka resigned his appointment as head of
the toddling Department of Theatre Arts in October, 1971, leaving a
temporary vacuum in the development of African drama in Ibadan.
4.2 Aims and objectives of university
theatre art company (UTAC)
promote African and world literature
To provide a conducive atmosphere fore the improvement of
writes crafts as Soyinka encouraged younger playwrights to develop
their different theatrical skills.
To increase would wide knowledge and appreciation of African
literature as they performed African plays within and outside the
4. To raise the standard of
African theatre toward ensuring its active participation in
cultural and national development.
To give an experience with theatrical production in other
English speaking countries i.e
5.1 Unibadan masques
For three and a half years
after the demise of UTAC, the Department of Theatre Arts was
without an acting company. Adedeji was busy putting the department
on a sound academic footing and making special cases for additional
staff. In October, 1974, the last batch of diploma in Drama
students graduated and a new Diploma in theatre Arts programme was
introduced. The aim was to produce all-round professionals in
theatre, film, television and radio who would go out to practice
privately, work in media houses and teach in schools, thereby
boosting the future of theatre in various spheres. To achieve this,
Adedeji saw the need to raise a professional or semi-professional
troupe. Whatever the case may be, the 1974/75 session witnessed a
new dimension in professional theatre development at Ibadan. The
Unibadan Masques was founded by Adedeji with Dexter Lyndersay as
the director. Adedeji’s concern was to build a virile acting
company for the promotion of African plays on a more enduring
framework than in the past.
For Nigerian literary
theatre to thrive, Adedeji contended that there must be a troupe
and a regular performance venue where writers could experiment and
blossom without any hindrance.
main aim of the Unibadan Masques, as Lyndersay put it was the
projection of “the African personality (and concerns) – in
tradition, in present- day life and in aspiration for the future –
in particular the Nigerian and including those members of the
‘Black Diaspora’ (Black Americans, West Indians etc.) by use
of performing and other arts and skills”. This was much in accord
with most proposals put forward by members of staff since 1974 and
which were periodically reviewed. The means of achieving this aim
was through employment of the best personnel-artistic and
administrative, who would be paid according to their expertise and
the conditions operative generally in the labour market.
For ease of management, and transportation,
the company was to be limited to 25 in number. It was therefore
imperative for actors to be multitalented in writing, acting,
music, design, directing and to also be prepared to be trained in
all aspects of stagecraft.
In addition, it was proposed
that five persons should be employed to serve on the administrative
side as stage manager, production manager/ technician,
publicity/Tour – Booking manager, Box office Assistant and typist.
It was estimated that #22,000 (Twenty two thousand naira) should
take care of all these annually.
frequency of production was fixed at 9 plays per season with an
average of one production per month.
It was considered
ideal to have at least 6 plays in repertory. The programme
time-table was made as flexible as possible. The long vacation
period was spent preparing and rehearsing plays for the following
season, training actors, taking productions on tours etc.
The Unibadan Masques was unique in the
sense that it was better organized and coordinated than the
previous companies. Actors were real professionals who were not
subjected to classroom teaching and frustrating monthly stipends.
They were paid employees and the troupe had an identifiable
administrative set up. Interaction with students, and involvement
of people from university and town communities were
Lyndersay directed the
masques from 1974 to 1976 and Adedeji, assisted by Yemi Ajibade,
the artist-in-Residence, took over direction from 1976 to 1979.
Laolu Ogunniyi was appointed production Manager and also
doubled as touring Advance Manager.
The Unibadan Masques as a matter of fact nurtured Femi
Osofisan and provided opportunities for the established and
aspirant playwrights to put their work to test in the amount of new
writing collected for production.
an academic professional theatre, the Unibadan Masques boosted its
popularity by adopting the “total theatre” experience of the Yoruba
Travelling Theatre, from which Osofisan’s ‘The Chattering and the
Song’ and ‘Kolera Kolej’ evolved. Dexter Lyndersay explains his
‘When I was director of unibadan
Masques, I looked fires for plays
Nigerian authors. And
my first consideration
was for writers in and around the
simultaneously, we looked for African and
Afro- American plays our primary concern
do plays that would be stimulating
to the campus
community; also from which
the participating students
gain some practical
students could gain
experience and the
of the arts of
The creative interjection of familiar
local tunes and dexterous manipulation of cultural idioms and
values made Ogunyemi, Osofisan and Ajibade especially favourites of
the Unibadan Masques. This is much in conformity with the
production aims of giving expression to “the African personality”.
The Unibadan Masques served as the professional unit of the
department of theatre Arts the students could look up to for
inspiration and emulation. It complemented the curricular
programmes and provided opportunities for both academic and
professionally-oriented staff to share experiences of production
and finally, it provided a link between town and gown.
The Masques productions were popular,
socially relevant African plays which included Femi
Osofisan’s ‘Kolera Kolej’ (1975), Emman Avbiorokoma’s ‘The Child
Factor’ (1976), Wole Soyinka’s ‘The Lion and the Jewel’
(1977) and Yemi Ajibade’s ‘Mokai’ (1978). The greatest
achievements of the masques lie in its promotion of African plays
and the establishment of theatre in English as a viable
professional venture in Ibadan.
Unibadan Masques was somehow more successful than other acting
companies for several reasons. Artistically, it had a focus which
it kept constantly, in view. Members of the organization
contributed the bulk of its creative materials. Writers like Wale
Ogunyemi, Emman Aviborokoma, Femi Osofisan, Bode Osanyin, Yemi
Ajibade and Kole Omotoso were within the university community and
of course many of them were part of the masques organization. They
were readily available to respond to the artistic and experimental
perception of the project. The university was fiscally supportive
in that the authorities provided vehicles to facilitate touring,
office accommodation to ease administration, and incentives to
sustain artistic enthusiasm. The actors were themselves committed
practitioners who put the interest of the arts above all pecuniary
Adedeji maintained a
consistent view of the viability of theatre as a business venture.
The success of the Masques seemed to justify his hope for theatre
as business. He made a proposal to the university authority for the
establishment of a professional revenue generating troupe that
would be independent of the department of theatre Arts. The
proposal was accepted and the Unibadan Performing Company was
constituted in July.
6.1 Unibadan Performing
Company (UPC 1980)
masque preceded the Unibadan performing company (U.P.C). So, a
discourse about the Unibadan Performing Company will not be
complete without reference to the Unibadan Masque. Indeed the
Masque laid the foundation for the realization of the U.P.C.; it
was as a result of its ideology that Joel Adedeji wrote a proposal
for the establishment of a professional revenue generating company
that would be independent of the Department of Theater Arts. The
proposal was granted and the U.P.C. was established in July 1,
1980. The U.P.C. started its activities in 1981 with the assets
that the Masques left, which include vehicles, the masques’ office
and a sum of 50,000.
took it upon himself to see to it that the work Geoffrey Axworthy
and Wole Soyinka nurtured, was realized. The company was founded
with hope that it would attain pre-eminence over the ones it
succeeded and at the same time set standard for other troupe/
For this reason it was placed under the
management of some vastly experienced artistes, theatre scholars,
media experts and dynamic administrators to ensure its success and
The U.P.C had an organized board which
consisted of Messrs Ayo Ogunlade as the chairman, Jide Malomo as
the secretary. Others include:
Dr. N.O Kayode
Dr Mrs Victoria Ezeokoli
Dr Mrs Zulu sotola
Mr Bayo oduneye
Mr Dapo Adeflugba – Now a
Professor Olumoyiwa Awe
According to Adedokun
(1988), this board had the following stated functions to perform:
The board shall be charged with the overall
responsibility for the management of the U.P.C.
board shall be responsible to council through the vice chancellor
The board shall determine the general conditions
of service of the U.P.C
The board of shall receive an
annual report which shall be forwarded to the council through the
The members of staff of the company
were recruited through adverts placed in newspapers and employed
after series of interviews by members of the board.
Unlike other troupes that preceded it, the U.P.C.’s actors and
actresses were professionals.
The U.P. C had 24 members
all together as at march, 1981. Just like the Masque, the artistes
in the U.P.C were multi-talented. This accounts for their fewness.
This factor was an advantage and, at the same time, a disadvantage
because the plays they staged had to be limited in characters for
cost effective touring and administration.
because of its structure was more inclined towards a commercial
theatre like the Yoruba Travelling theatre and New York Broadway
The U.P.C gained popularity because of the
kind of productions it staged and the caliber of audience it
6.2 Challenges of
Despite its success the U.P.C faced a lot of
challenges, which led to its closure.
noted: “The major infrastructural problem which hampered the
performance of UPC was the lack of performance venue.”
Adedokun explained further that the Arts Theatre which was the
only venue for acting on campus had become mainly a laboratory of
Theatre Art Department.
Also, over-dependence on the
University subsidy and the treatment of performers as civil
servants and not as professionals are some of the factors that led
to the death of the U.P.C.
university Ibadan theater arts
The UPC could not achieve its financial goal in spite of its
meticulous planning and commitment. There was a drastic decline in
1985, followed by a period of vacuum in the history of Unibadan
Performing Company. In 1987 the UITAT started with a grant of #70,
000 from the university.
The remnant staff of UPC which
included Kunle Famoriyo, Dapo Ayoola and Toyin Nwawzuru, were
absorbed by the department as the core staff of UITAT.
After grand take-off had been stabilized for AITAT, Mr Remi
Adedokun (who had been made the director) had a ghastly and
devastating motor accident on his way to Osogbo on May 26, 1987. He
was hospitalized till January 1988.
stagnated the UITAT and it remained in abeyance for 10 yrs.
Prof Dapo Adelugba became the new H.O.D. in 1994 and his first
assignment was to re-open the UITAT issue. He persuaded Remi
Adedokun, who was already preparing for a voluntary retirement,
against his personal conviction to stay to run the UITAT.
The 1987 grant of #70, 000 had lapsed, so Prof. Adelugba
sought another fund to revive the UITAT. And the university
promised to grant some fund in the next academic year.
However, It was Mr. Steve Ojo, the proprietor of galaxy
Television Ibadan, who provided the initial take-off grant of #50,
000.00 in 1996. Then, a 13 episode drama serial titled
“Rainbow in the sky written and directed by Remi Adedokun was
produced by UITAT for Galaxy Television.
Corporation of Oyo State also commissioned a 13 episode television
drama serial titled “The Gold Train” written and directed by Remi
According to Adedokun (1998), some members began to nurse some
resentment against either the person of Steve Ojo or the UITAT
itself (this was not clear). And this led to the collapse of the
Troupe in 1998
Adedokun also noted that the reason some
staff were and still are strongly against professional theatre
practice, can be traced to the two-tier academic cadre impasse –
the lecture/Arts Fellow (professional cadre) two tier academic
He explained that this impasse which favours the
lecturers at the expense of the professional cadre (who work in the
theatre), is a serious challenge to the existence of a professional
theatre troupe in the University of Ibadan today. He emphasized
that the ad-hoc groups that exist are there only to premier
students’ and lecturers’ plays.
Group 5 Subgroup 2
Ogundoyin Bisi EGL
Moyosore EGL/ 2009/091
Saheed DCE/ 2009/ 003
Aderibgbe Adewale EGL/ 2009/037
Iloabuchi Oluebube R. DCE/ 2009/066
Alabi Oluwatobi R. DCE/ 2009/034
Abstract on Ahmed Yerima’ MNT Modern Nigeria Theatre “
Provided by Deji Oguntoyinbo”
(1998). A pictorial History of Nigeria theatre and Dramatists
A Thesis on the Unibadan Theatrical Movements, written by Remi
Projects Works by Students of A.T.A.S
Dr. Awosanmi U.I
Dr. Adeyemi OAU
Dr. Adeokun U.I
ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR THE TRAVELLING THEATRE
Board of Director
Drivers and Assistance
Actors and Actresses
ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR THE PERFOMING
PRODUCER (The HOD or The University
Assistant Business Manager
History of Ori-Olokun
The Ori-Ololun figure is one of the most
symbolic and popular of the classical bronze master piece of Ife
art and Yoruba sculptural civilization. The circumstances
that led to this popularity was obvious. Loe Frobenius and
his team in 1910 found Ori-Olokun and systematically escavated
Ori-Olokun figure from the Olokun groove in Irebami Ile-Ife and it
has since been locked up in the british museum. The figure is
a naturalistic representation of the head of Olokun. Olokun
is the Yoruba goddess of the ocean; Olokun is described in Ifa
divination Odu-Ifa Corpus that is Odu-Ifa, Otua meji. It goes
“Olokun seni ade/Olokun the royal being,
A-gbodo-joba/The one who reigns supreme in the waters” (Abimbola,
Olokun is a deity who
inhabits the depth of the ocean and she is associated with health,
wealth and prosperity. She is rich in both majesty and
sovereignty. We cannot isolate Ori-Olokun figure from Olokun
goddess. She shares some likeness with Osun, Osa, Oba and Oya
who were great women, who once lived as human beings and later
became deitied as water goddesses. They are still being
worshipped in different parts of Yorubaland till today.
Olokun is superior to the other goddesses
in affluence and influence. This popular song establishes
“Omi gbogbo e fiba folokun, olokun lagba
omi. All waters must pay homage to Olokun, Olokun is the greatest
of all waters.
In Otua meji,
as recorded by Abimbola (1977) Olokun’s profile as the greatest of
the other water deities is reiterated as follows:-
Atomi, atagbara/waters, mild and turbulent
foribale folokun/pay homage to Olokun,
Okun layaba omi/
okun is the queen of all waters.
these insightful lines, one can figure out that “olokun” refers to
the goddess and “okun” refers to the ocean where the goddess
resides. According to Ifa temple (2000:12) Olokun a beautiful
damsel who got married to Oduduwa, the progenitor of Yoruba
race. They were fond of each other and lived happily until
Oduduwa took a second wife. As a result, the relationship
went sour and bitter. Olokun in anger and frustration, having
been humiliated by Oduduwa’s second wife, went away taking all she
could carry since she was unhappy and bitter, living became
unbearable for her and she pleaded with the sea god to transform
her into the water now called Okun (ocean). This
transformation did not bring her life to an end; rather as a water
deity, she became richer and more powerful. Many worshippers
who desired to be rich found her favour. However Olokun in
her state as a water goddess longed for the beauty of
Ile-Ife. Therefore, she sent a messenger to Orunmila, Yoruba
god of divination to come and keep her company. Orunmila came
and was overwhelmed by her great wealth and comfort during his stay
with her and forgot his primary responsibilities(which is
Ori-olokun is one of
Nigeria’s authentic theatresbecause it attempts to be void of
European sensibility and colonially inherited aesthetics.
Origin of Ori Olokun theatre
The name “ori olokun”
theatre according to Mr Tunji Ojeyemi does not have any known link
to the olokun diety. The name is probably derived as a result of
scholarly researches by the research fellows into the African
culture with the aim of awakening the afrocentric consciousness of
the African people by attempting to retrieve some of the
significant cultural artefacts that were taken away by the British.
‘ori olokun” tells a volume about the mythology of olokun and
its importance to creativity in Yoruba arts which probably is the
reason for the adoption of the name “ori olokun”. A typical
instance was in 1978 when prof.Wole Soyinka and Olabiyiyai both
from the university of ile ife travelled to Brazil to retrieve the
stolen “ori olokun” from the house of an architect and collector
where it was puportedly located.
As reported by
Okpanku(2004), Atiwuron cultural group produced “ori olokun”, a
film specially written to call for restitution of Nigerian
artefacts with several millions of naira.
is a branch of African studies in the then University of Ife (Now
Obafemi Awolowo University). It was founded by Late Prof. Ola
Rotimi around 1968.
Ola Rotimi returned from overseas
where he studied and barged a degree in Boston University in 1963
and a master’s degree at Yale School of drama in 1966, where his
first substantial play “Our Husband has Gone Mad Again” won the
best student drama award. Ori Olokun threatre headed by Ola
Rotimi in the Institute of African Studies had other departments
headed by Research fellows as well, such as Prof. Akin Yuba who was
into music and Prof Uwangboje who was into Fine Art.
Institute of African studies was the only place where Ola Rotimi
could be employed as the Senior research fellow and not as a
lecturer because there were no students. Late Prof Ola Rotimi
founded the Ori Olokun theatre.
The Development of
Ori-Olokun to Awo Versity Threatre
Being a branch/unit of Institute of African studies, the Ori
Olokun theatre is a combination of dance, music, drama and Fine
Art. Similarly theatre being the fastest developing unit
among the others, because they go out to perform unlike the Fine
Artists who have the singular chance to showcase their drawing
whenever there is a play being performed in the institute.
They were called Ori-Olokun players, but
after a while when their performances were developing and becoming
rich, they were referred to as Ori-Olokun theatre.
Around1971/1972, intriguing convocation
plays were staged, and this led to the renaming ofthe“ori olokun”
theatre to University of Ife theatre – hence Uni Ife theatre by the
then vice chancellor in person of prof. oluwasanmi (late) in
1973. At this time salary payment to the performers came to
The change of name was
accompanied with a huge donation of N35,000 which was given for the
running of the theatre. Before now, the artistes lived on
allowances or returns. Since then till date, the Ori-Olokun figure
is being used in the university logo.
This organizational restructuring also affected the way
artistes were being admitted. Now auditions were made to take some
of the artistes as temporary staffs. Some were daily rated
staffs while some were temporary staff. None was
permanent.The audition took 32 people.
At about 1976, the artistes protested and questioned their
temporary status. Wande Abimbola was then the acting director
of the institute, who was overseeing the Unife theatre. He
then set up a panel to look into their case because he knew the
importance and value of the theatre. As a result of this, an
interview was carried out and those that were seen to be capable
were retained. About 22 of them were retained as against the
initial 32 after which they were given letters of
appointment. Their temporary status did not change though,
but it differed from their initial temporary status. They
were admitted as staffs but were first on probation.
Later the admitted personnel were promoted
to permanent staffand later confirmed to be bona-fide staff of the
University. All this happened before the name of the school
was changed to Obafemi Awolowo University.
Although, it was the University of Ado-Ekiti that was
initially given the name Obafemi Awolowo University but it was
criticized by politicians, like in the case of UNILAG being changed
to Moshood Abiola University where some supported and others
opposed. As a result of this toggle, University of Ife
decided to adopt the name for themselves since it was Obafemi
Awolowo who established Uni Ifewhen he was the premier of the
In the year 1987, the
name was changed to OAU and automatically, the then Uni Ife theatre
changed to Obafemi Awolowo University theatre – Awoversity
theatre. Till date the name has not changed.
Funding of the Theatre
Theatre is difficult to run individually,
as a result the directors could not have run it with their
money. Based on the fact that they were all research fellows,
they were entitled to research grants and with this grant, Ola
Rotimi, Akin Yuba, Peggy Apiah used their research grants to
finance the plays. Apart from the research grants, the school
also pay them salaries. They also wrote proposals to the
University’s management. Artiste were not paid because there
were no sufficient money to run the theatre, hence they were
economical with the little they had. The artiste on the other
hand, deviced a means of also improving the theatre by making
returns to the researchers because they had to pay back the
University money lent for productions. This is important
because the researchers had to keep a good relationship with the
school for future proposals for grants.
The school here started
paying the artistes and the directors, this has been so till
Artiste Discovery (How they got artistes)
From our sources, it was said that due to
the nature of the theatre at that time, there were no
student,unlike now, to work with, so they go and “catch they young”
in primary schools and secondary schools. Also they used
farmers for some productions. Today, the product of their
discovery are great and notable people in the film industry and in
some other prominent positions. A very good example is the
Lead actor in the popular NI – Net Productions TINSEL, Victor
Olaotan who got into acting through a teacher who was a member of
Ori Olokun theatre group in the 70’s where he met acting groups
like Jimi Solanke, Akin Sofoluwe, Yomi Fawole and Late Laide
Rufus Orisayomi in 1969 got
to Ile-Ife the home of culture where he joined the Ori Olokun Art
Experimental Workshop. Being a dancers, he was part of the
Ori Olokun artiste that represented the then Ife University theatre
at the Youth Arts Festival in Nancy and Paris. Other artistes
are Ademola Williams, Peter Badejo OBE, Olu Oke Kange, Rufus
Ogundele also a member was Dele Osawe, a cast in the popular now
vested television drama series., the Village Head master.
Overall Director – Ola Rotimi
Director of Dance – Peggy Harpper,
took over by Tunji Ojeyemi
Music – Akinbola Uba
Plastic, Paint and
general fine art work – Wangbose in charge
Theatre manager – Olu Akomolafe
(Now Alade of Idanre land)
Technical director – Segun Akinbola
Actors – Tunji Ojeyemi, Jimoh Buraimoh, Tijani, Mayakere,
Muraina Oyelami, Professor Yerima (Esa of Ilagbiji)
What makes the group peculiar
of professionalism is much more higher, than those of other theatre
group like Oyin Adejobi and the likes
routine was more rigourous and exacting. The players had to
walk miles to do publicity from town (Ori Olokun base in Arubidi)
to campus and to quarters.
The level of respectability
They are disciplined, unlike their
contemporaries, they were focused
The group had what can
be called laboratory for students of dramatic art
learned and practiced from people that are professional
Ori Olokun was a governmental entity, unlike other groups like
Oyin Adejobi which was privately owned.
It was the only
English speaking acting company as at that time.
date, it is the only theatrical group that has successfully went on
a nationwide tour for performances. University of Port
Harcourt tried to do it but they had a quarrel when the group got
to Lagos, this led to the failure.
Although part of the
Institute of African Studies, Ori Olokun was not staging its play
in the school premises. Having discovered at need for space,
which is a very vital feature of a theatre, Ola Rotimi traveled to
Osogbo to meet with Duro Ladipo, the head of Mbari Mboye for a
space to carry out their duties, he then discovered that the place
was not going to be convenient for them (it was a small space), to
fully engage in performances, training and workshop. Ola
Rotimi was then advised to get back to Ife to see a politician (a
member of the then Action Group) by name Pedro. Pedro had an
hotel named after the nickname of the Action Group “egbe olope” –
The hotel was named Palm tree hotel.
Ola Rotimi met and discussed with Pedro and relay his
intentions to him, Pedro in response kindly gave out the place and
it was renamed Ori – Olokun. In this place, they held their
workshops, trainings, performances and other activities. The
hotel was located at Arubidi in Ife town.
After the school took over the group in the early 70s, the
group was relocated down to the campus. They had performances
at Oduduwa hall and later in Pit theatre till date.
The audience of a
theatre forms the main reason why any play is staged. I stand
to be corrected but I think the simple definition of Democracy also
fits the theatre. Theatre of the people by the people and for
the people. However, the theatre might not necessarily be by
“the people” to whom the phenomenon being preached is performed,
but they must have learnt the culture of the people before they can
properly portray them well, to this extent I submit that on stage,
the players are “the people”.
said this, the audience during each period did not change. They
were members of the university staffs and indigenes and residents
of Ile-Ife. Also students of the academic community. When Ori
Olokun was still located at Palm Tree hotel in Arubidi, they
usually refer to the audience as town – Gown. It means that
the people in town and the Academic in school. They had
The performers were primary and secondary
school student and also farmers. Ola Rotimi got some of his actors
and artist during Oranmiyan festival when he was invited to chair
It was not business oriented
To teach, educate and entertain the people.
3. To protect the African cultural
The people in Ori Olokun
both learn and perform at the same time. They could double
task. Ola Rotimi was multi-talented man. He knew how to
do virtually everything and that passed down to the people he was
working with. They did everything by themselves; teaching and
training others to do the same.
GROUP 9 SUBGROUP