Browse Exhibits (1 total)

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Yoruba Travelling Theatre

This exhibit contains film posters that emerged from the 1990s, a period following the collapse of Nigerian cinema because of the politics of the structural adjustment programs of the IMF that greatly curtailed the consumption of narrative pleasures in Nigeria. Yoruba Nollywood, particularly films that drew influences from the Yoruba Travelling theatre tradition of Yoruba popular culture are presented here as foundational texts to what would later be known as Nollywood.

Posters in this exhibition focus on the films of veterans such as Hubert Ogunde, Baba Sala, etc. The travelling theatre was an important form of popular drama that grew out of the traditional Alarinjo mask theatre in Nigeria. Created in the 1940s by the late Hubert Ogunde, it combined elements from the Ghanaian Concert Party, incorporating music, dance and elements from Yoruba religious beliefs.

According to Nollywood scholar, Jonathan Jaynes, the travelling theatre has been wildly popular with Yoruba audiences and draws crowds even in non-Yoruba areas. It is known as the Yoruba Travelling Theater because none of the troupes had a fixed home: they travel constantly, performing in rented halls or wherever they can (1). 

The films in this poster exhibition draw substantially from the travelling theatre tradition and mark the transition from the celluloid technologies used in Nigerian cinema in the before Nollywood to films that were shot straight to VHS cassettes.   


Jonathan, Haynes. Structural Adjustments of Nigerian Comedy: Baba Sala. Evanston, IL: Program of African Studies, Northwestern University, 1994. Internet resource.

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