Set in 1914, out of the fires of the First World War comes a newly forged country in the heart of Africa, uniting three tribal kingdoms into one. A theatre director, Herbert Ogunde, is hired to stage a celebratory play in the new capital. The actors come from many different tribes so they choose to stage the tale of the Spear of Shango. In the myth, whoever possesses the spear will bring prosperity and good harvests to their kingdom and courageous young woman Nkoyo is determined to fetch it herself, and save her father and his tribe from famine. But as the all-female company rehearses their play, the British Governor comes to watch and he would like to make a few changes...
The story is inspired by real events: the actual Herbert Ogunde was a theatre-maker. He married a number of the actresses in his company in order to give them a level of ‘respectability’ among their families, who didn’t believe Acting was a reliable profession.
The Unicorn directors are masters of original storytelling for young people and How Nigeria Became is a charming example of new writing. Also the play offers a subtle and engaging way of educating children about a country they may only have heard of reported in the news, or only recognise in a modern context. The history and culture explored (particularly in the use of Yoruba language song s and drum music ) all make up the inspirational story of heroic women and the birth of Nigeria . As the playwright explains, “ I wanted to explore the idea that, at that moment, all the tribes who made up that region of West Africa were going to cohabit, everything was going to be fine and no one was going to have a dispute because essentially they are all the same people rather than different tribes. That’s the story I want to tell; that for a while, in 1914, the idea was to come together, even though there might be a fall out in the future. ”
|What||How Nigeria Became, Unicorn Theatre|
The Unicorn Theatre
147 Tooley St, London, SE1 2HZ | MAP
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
09 Oct 14 – 09 Nov 14, 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
|Website||Click here to book via Unicorn Theatre|