Thursday, 05 July 2012 04:35

Yoruba Drama and Theatre

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If your idea of a good party is staying home and watching movies or if you want your guests to have something to do while waiting for your party to start, kick back and enjoy Yoruba theatre and movies.There's a plethora of movies to choose from depending on your taste – old or new school.Hubert Ogunde (1916-1990) is considered the father of modern Yoruba/Nigerian theatre, launching his theatre group in 1946 following the pattern of traditional Alárìnjó dramas which accompanied the Egúngúns.

Since Ogunde, there have been other theatre groups and more recently, movies which artistically combine drama, music, and dance celebrating Yoruba culture. The movies usually present jùjú prowess, family relations within polygamy, societal issues, and Yoruba cultural values.

Behind the scenes making on-screen magic are playwrights, directors, and group managers. This truly remarkable bunch include: Wole Soyinka, Ola Balogun, Ola Rotimi, Dapo Adelugba, Kola Ogunmola, Art Alade, Ben Tomoloju, Wale Ogunyemi, Adebayo Faleti, Gbenga Adewusi, Femi Osofisan, Femi Lasode, Wale Adenuga, Jimoh Aliyu, Fred Agbeyegbe, Muyideen Alade Aromire, Tunde Kelani, Tade Ogidan, and Kareem Adepoju (Baba Wande).

Stars of Yoruba Theatre

1950 - 1960s

Drama: Hubert Ogunde

Kola Ogunmola

Ayo Ogungbe

Comedy: Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala)

Movies: Yoruba Ronu,Otito Koro


Drama: Duro Ladipo (Oba k'oso)

Ojo Ladipo

Comedy: Funso Adeolu (Chief Eleyinmi)

Ibidun Allison (Amebo)

Movies: Oba k'oso, Ajani Ogun, Ogbori Elemoso


Drama: Oyin Adejobi

Lere Paimo (Eda Onileola)

Adeyemi Afolayan (Adelove)

Ishola Ogunsola (I show pepper)

Comedy: Tajudeen Gbadamosi and Ayo Ogunsina (Jacob and Papalolo)

Ola Omonitan (Ajimajasan)

Sunday Omobolanle (Aluwe)

Tunji Oyelana (Sura the Tailor)

Movies: Aiye, J'aiye simi, Aropin n'tenia, Ayanmo, Arelu


Drama: Toyin Adegbola (Asewo to re Mecca)

Comedy: Babatunde Omidina (Baba Suwe)

Lola Idije (Iya Rainbow)

Modupe Johnson (Fali Werepe)

Kayode Olaseinde (Pa Ajasco)

Movies: Saworo Ide,Owuro l'Ojo, Agbara Nla,

Ti Oluwa ni Ile, Maradona, Sango


Drama: Femi Branch

Funke Akindele

Muka Ray

Saheed Balogun

Ronke Oshodi-Oke

Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo)

Comedy: (Baba Latin)

Movies: Eta'nu, Owo Ale, Jenifa, Arugba

(Culled from Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life by Abi Adegboye & Ibiyemi Dare)

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Abi Adegboye Ph.D

Abi Adegboye began writing as a young girl growing in western Nigeria.  In a culture that reveres boys, she was born the second of three girls.  Certain she had to be her family's 'boy,' she climbed trees to harvest fruit, dressed chickens for dinner, caught mice, and whatever else required male-handling.  She also loved to read, write, and draw.  Her initial efforts yielded publications in local newspapers and newsletters.  However, she was advised to get a day job which turned out to be as a professor of political science.  This opened to her, a different avenue for publication in her areas of research including African women and development, women migrants, and the impact of public policy on women’s political economy.

On her 40th birthday, she rekindled her creative writing with the publication of Butterfly, a picture book and Reflections on Nigerian Christianity, a social commentary.  Since then, she’s co-authored Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life (2010), a cultural anthology and published Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House (2012), a YA motivational YA book, and Renike comes to America (2016), a novella.  

Abi writes multicultural fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults.  She shares her writing through speaking engagements, performances, storytelling, and classroom visits. 

For more information about Ms. Adegboye’s publications, or to connect with her, visit her

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