Women’s Performance In Ori-Olokun Theatre: A Participant-Observer’s Reflection

Sep 28 2007

Bose Ayeni-Tsevende
Department of Theatre and Communication Arts, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria.

The Alarinjo theatres were family enterprises. The Ori-Olokun sought to create a different theatre tradition. However, before I joined the theatre in 1971, the females who took part in the Ori-Olokun theatrical performances were students or members of staff of the University of Ife, or persons within the community who performed purely on the basis of personal interest.
Work mainly consisted of warm-ups, led by Peggy Harper, the resident choreographer, and Peter Badejo, the Ori-Olokun Theatre’s star dancer. This was thirty minutes of warm-up, usually done to pulsating music of Baba Ayan, a great master drummer of the Yoruba talking drum, with full ensemble, manned also by professional drummers and musicians. After the delightful exercises, the group went to the main body of the rehearsal for the day. Usually, it would be an Ola Rotimi play, ranging from Oyonramwen Nogbaisi, The Gods Are Not to Blame, Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, Holding Talks, Kurunmi and so on.

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