Theatre for Development Practice in South-South Nigeria (1990 to the Present)

Ofonime Inyang PhD and Idaresit Inyang,

University of Uyo, Nigeria and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa



From its early surge in Southern Africa through initiatives such as Laedza Batanani, Maratholi Travelling Theatre to its current institutionalization in development thinking and academic investigation, TfD was launched in West Africa primarily in an initiative popularly called the Samaru Project pioneered by Michael Etherton and colleagues at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. This provided the impetus for its growth first in northern Nigeria and later in other parts of Nigeria through the interaction of students and theatre scholars from other parts of the country. This paper aims to historicize the growth and spread of TfD praxis and pedagogy in the geopolitical South-South of Nigeria popularly referred to as the Niger Delta area. The paper examines the development, pedagogy and practice of TfD in this area through a study of major interventions, exponential practitioners and institutions that supported its growth and substance between the 1990s to the present. Using a qualitative methodology involving interviews, archival study, library research and observation, the paper shall accentuate the TfD practice in South-South Nigeria and its position as a major source of insight and interventions in the development challenges in this part of the world.

Ofonime Inyang is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Uyo where he has taught for more than 20 years and Idaresit Inyang is a PhD student in the Department of Drama, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.