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Theatre, restructuring and national identity

Austin Ovigueraye Asagba


Given the prevailing mood of the country, the aptness of this topic for SONTA 2019 cannot be overemphasized. Recently, the concept of restructuring has dominated national discourse in the country’s geo-political space. Most politicians across the political divide believe that the concept of restructuring is  the most viable political option (even when they have conflicting understanding of the term) opens to Nigeria to attain peace, fairness, social justice and  equity. The other alternative choice in the prevailing mood of political mistrust and misrepresentations among the ethnic nationalities, suspicions, ethno-  religious conflicts, myriad of social and economic problems, is the disintegration of the country along ethnic lines. The outcome of the latter possibility to  everyone is chaos, bloodshed and war. Conversely, the Nigerian theatre, one of the oldest artistic and cultural institutions, and a veritable cultural arbiter  in the ongoing national conversation on restructuring, seems to be in comatose plagued by years of neglect by government and failure of practitioners to  refresh and sustain the cultural past and make them relevant for today. The Nigeria theatre, because of its dialogical features and ability to facilitate  resolutions and build consensus amongst people has the potential to stir Nigeria’s drifting ship to safe waters. Therefore, it is imperative that as  stakeholders, we rebuild our dying cultural house, and make it stronger and potent enough to contribute positively and culturally in the ongoing quest  for a united and indivisible country called Nigeria. The choice of topic is also a recognition and affirmation of the fact that theatre, both as literature and  performative arts, can contribute to the process of national reform, renewal, reorganization, reinvigoration and the building of national identity. To be  able to do this, historicocritical and analytic methods were deployed in the paper. 

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eISSN: 2971-6748
print ISSN: 0189-9562