Security and the Dearth of Live Theatre in Nigeria

Toyin Ogundeji


There has been a great acceptance of live performances in the history of Nigerian theatre as evident in the shows of itinerant and literary theatres between 1960s and 1980s, for many people were enamoured of the productions of the Yoruba travelling theatre troupes and literary drama as produced by some Universities with theatre arts departments, such as the University of Ibadan, Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. One of the factors that contributed to this patronage is security - an assurance of well-being of both the performers and audience in all ramification. By the beginning of 1990s, there was an evident paucity of stage play productions, and patrons had reduced in the few remaining theatres that strived to put up shows. Using the explicit knowledge of performance environment of the country as a participant observer and an active member of the industry for close to three decades; the paper establishes that the moribund state of live performances in Nigeria is closely connected to the gamut of insecurity that has invariably left theatre business in the shadows of itself. Hence, this paper is a review of security issues in the nation as it affects theatre business, particularly live performances, and the resultant hardship on getting the desired therapeutical, psychological and entertainment values embedded in its forms. The paper investigates the low turnout of audience at live theatre in Nigeria and establishes the reasons why it does not seem to hold any adequate moneymaking potential to encourage investors. The paper concludes with the hope that if the Nigerian government could be responsible for managing and sustaining the art, there would be a great succor and healthy environment for live theatre to thrive.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2016.v7n2s1p238

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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