Oluwatoyin Ogundeji F'12

Oluwatoyin  Ogundeji
Lecturer
Dramatic Arts
Obafemi Awolowo University

African Humanities Program Dissertation Fellowships 2012
Doctoral Candidate
Dramatic Arts
University of Ibadan
An Evaluation of Women's Contributions to the Popular Culture of the Yoruba Travelling Theater

Since the inception of the theater tradition in Nigeria, there has been a conscious effort to involve women to get rounded and appealling performances and responses. Women participated despite insult and opposition and made indelible marks on the sands of theatrical time. Their contributions were both performative and domestic, for many of them became wives to the various theater leaders they worked with. Why have seven decades of history been silent about them? Why did they have to work and live in servitude? Why did they choose to live in polygamous settings and what made it all worthwhile? Where did they turn to when society initially turned its back on them? Through interviews, the study explores these questions to give insight into the magnitude of sacrifices they made on the altar of theatrical succeess in Nigeria. The research also documents the stories of these women before they are lost to oblivion. The study adds to the existing knowledge of and literature on the women in the theater, and at the same, opens up new frontiers for further research.