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The Contemporary Nigerian Theatre Practitioner in Search of Market: The New Media to the Rescue
The theatre practitioner, in Nigeria and in most parts of Africa, is today faced with the challenges of limited funding and space to market his art. He or she is also confronted with the task of raising and sustaining a true professional group that can turn his art into a money spinning venture, especially with the overwhelming presence of the new media. Using Play Theory of Mass Communication as its framework, this paper examines the position of the theatre artiste/practitioner in the context of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and new media. It first attempts a study of the ‘pre-independence’ practitioners of theatre and drama as professionals, followed by the apathy and misfortune that characterised the sector in the ‘post-independence’ era. The paper discovers that while the practitioners in the ‘pre independence’ era sustained theatre as business and art, the reverse is the case in the ‘post-independence’ era, owing largely to the overriding influence of the new media. The paper concludes that for the contemporary theatre practitioner to succeed, he or she must be well versed in the popular mode of stage drama, and must equally learn how to incorporate the new media into his or her practice. A deficiency in either of the two above may hamper the growth and substance of the theatre profession and reduce the marketability of the art form generally.
Keywords: Popular African Theatre Mode, Professionalism, New Media, Contemporary Theatre Practice, Marketability.