This study is on Nigeria theatre and cultural promotion: a study of national theatre. The total population for the study is 200 staff of national theatre Lagos, Lagos state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made theatre practitioners, supervisors, senior staff and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
- Background of the study
A national theatre embodies the performing treasures of the nation‘s inheritance for a glorious cause. The theatre brings the best not just to its people but also to the world and further deals with artistic and creative imaginations. It then beholds on Government to encourage the theatre as a body that preserves and promotes the cultural values of the nation rather than see it as a commercial industry. It is to this effect that the Scottish National Theatre idea comes as an art/culture commissioning body and not just one mount of architectural edifice. To preserve a culture then, it must be taken care of and mostly by funding. This may have been implied by Stewart Steven in his closing remark at the English Equity Theatre Conference, when he says that if you want to destroy a people, the first thing you do is destroy its culture. A functioning and producing theatre is something that provides a heart to the nature of a nation. This is in terms of identity, focus and sometimes diverse opinions. It is to this effect that the Social Democratic Government of Sweden in the 1930s initiated the establishment of a nation-wide organization for a touring theatre. A theatre that packages the national identity. This theatre called Riksteatern is the Author α: Department of Theatre and Media Arts Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. e-mail: email@example.com third theatre financed by government funds in Sweden. Riksteatern produces about 1,500 performances of (national) drama, music and dance a year. In addition, it has a special department that produces children‘s theatre called Ungariks. During the 1960s, riksteatern became an important moulder of public opinion through its performance. The National Theatre of Bulgaria Ivan Vazouis financed by Bulgaria‘s Ministry of Culture. Varying a spectrum of repertoire from classical drama to contemporary plays, the theatre stages about ten major productions yearly with between 450 and 500 performances presented per season, the theatre company has made an extensive tour of Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America showcasing Bulgaria‘s identity. Recently with King Stag, it received most of the major awards at the Raduga Festival in St. Petersburg in Russia. In each of these cases cited, the country‘s image is marketed. This marketing in the opinion of this paper, is made possible due to a focused managerial body at play. Africa has variety of Arts, craft and Religion which had contributed to the popularity of its society. From the investigations made by archaeologists and anthropologists into the life of the people over the years, Art and religion had played major roles in the development of the continent in the past and present life of the people. The African masks which were used for religious and social purposes pioneered the European art. Picasso and other artists preferred it to artistic expression of the classical and Renaissance art. According to Smeets (1975) “our generation, in fact has only just discovered the magnificence of the so-called primitive cultures. In the Paris of the young Picasso and Breque, African masks and sculpture had the impact of thunder.” In Nigeria some early artifacts which were collected by K.C. Murray and some excavations which revealed the Nok, Igboukwu and Ife artifacts to mention but a few gave insight into the rich heritage of Art objects, religion and cultural practices which made the society a dynamic socio-cultural religious entity. The ancestors of the Nigerian ethnic groups bequeathed objects especially sculptural forms in wood, metal, ivory and terracotta. According to Eze (2008) “These materials were used by early sculptors using simple tools and hands to turn them into sculptural pieces.” Symbolism was the driving force which produced the art works that were used for utility, religious worship and the development of the ethnic groups. Art, religion and the development of Nigerian ethnic group is not separated from each other. They complement each other and keep the traditional society going and alive. Anyachonkeye (2006) states: Our people are guided by their ethos, the things they value and revere. They are firm believers in their cultural heritage the things that hold and bind them together. The norm and moral ethics cannot be extricated from their material and non-material culture-morals, religion, food habit, dialect, values system and others. Many Nigerian traditional ethnic groups in effect practiced art and religion in order to communicate with their gods because of their belief in the human soul and spirit which are ever at work. Some of these gods were worshipped in shrines with art objects. This kept the societies intact and developed.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Culture is the aggregate of concepts and values which characterize a community. This makes people and culture quite inseparable. It then follows that a people without culture are in themselves not in full existence (Obasanjo, 1977:6). Theatre is one institution which ensures this unity towards a greater development of a nation. One wonders then the rationale behind the neglect of the theatre, which propagates cultural values of a nation. Looking at Government‘s interest on culture and arts in general, Ohenhen (2004.21) argues that the decision of government to classify the culture ministry as a non-core ministry really culminated in the underfunding and under development of the ministry and arts in general. With the increased abandonment of the theatre, it has become paramount that an art administrator who cans co-ordinate theatre organization effectively is engaged. Akomolafe (1981:427) notes this when he observes that the problem of administrative coordination within and among theatre demands great attention. It implies then that properly trained theatre administrative directors who will relief artistic directors of routine administrative duties‖ be engaged for an effective daily management of art institutions. To this In short, it has become apparent to laymen and professionals- and urgently so to both incipient and established arts organizations themselves-that the business of organizing, funding, managing and sustaining almost any given artistic enterprise requires executive leadership of a special kind. As a response to this special kind of leadership, it becomes imperative that: The arts manager today must be a person of taste, sensitivity and erudition whose inclinations and education enable him to search out, recognize and develop the genius of artistic originality in whatever guise it may appear. Because the guise is likely to be unusual, if not startling, he must also poses a lion‘s share of courage to support and promote it. He must be a facilitator of fantasies, a mover and a shaker. Administrative, financial and promotional know-how in the arts are wasted when not modified by such qualities (Reid 1983:22). Very tangent to the point stated above as it regards problem of theatre management in a developing country is lack of defined goals and objectives. Often, theatre organizations from the beginning do not have clear objective(s) to aid effective management. It sounds logical that when an idea for theatre can be clearly articulated and understood, when the primary motivation for activating the idea is also clear, then an appropriate type of theatre organization must be found in which the concept may be produced in manner consonant with the goals at hand‖ Langley (1980:10). In a personal interview, Osofisan, a former General manager of the National Theatre sees policy problem as an excruciating management handicap when he laments thus: The first thing is that the government should make up its mind about what it wants to do with the place. Until that is done, you can‘t do much. If the government‘s philosophy is not really in favour of cultural expression, then the decisions to be taken will be different. Talking in the abstract is okay but the concrete thing is: let‘s have a policy. Let‘s know what the policy is, whether the place is to showcase Nigerian culture, the best of Nigerian culture and all that, or it is meant to run as a commercial business. That is the thing. Langley sees a solution to this problem in a harmonious blend in the goals/objectives of both the theatre and that of the administrative executives when he observes that unless agreement about the philosophy and objectives behind a project is reached and especially well understood between the artistic and administrative elements, at least half the organization will labour under false or wrongly construed assumptions or under none at all (1980:9). Langley sees good communication as key to a successful management and posits that in an organization, even though an idea may be a brain child of a particular person, it should be discussed and subscribed to by others who will play leading roles in the project. When hiring a managing director, Langley also advises that this is the point when either side defines or harmonizes his objective(s). Langley (1980:23) opines that the manager should be cross-examined by both the institution and by himself as to whether his personality, experience and philosophy are in accord with the task at hand. Only if this is true will he be able to function as translator for goals and policies between the organization and the public and between factions within the organization itself. The growth of the organization lies not on the manager alone, but on the entire staff. The administrative staff should be a reflection of the overall aims and policies of the theatre organization. Supportive personnel including administrators, stagehands, ushers and doormen, are not hired simply to follow orders. They are, like the artists, hired to support the ideas, goals and objectives of a troupe. When optimal output is not achieved, Akinboye J.O. et al (2002:95) identify fourteen malaises which include management technique that may be at work
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are;
- To examine public theatre institutions in Nigeria.
- To determine whether national theatre is a vehicle for cultural promotion.
- To find out the problems of theatre management in Nigeria.
- To examine the prospects of managing public theatre institutions in Nigeria
- To ascertain the relationship between national theatre and cultural promotion
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: national theatre is not a vehicle for cultural promotion.
H1: national theatre is a vehicle for cultural promotion.
H02: there is no relationship between national theatre and cultural promotion
H2: there is relationship between national theatre and cultural promotion
1.5 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
This paper therefore, tries to explore the theatre as an art institution saddled with the responsibility of marketing a culture using the National Art Theatre, Lagos and MUSON centre as focus points. Though the MUSON center is a private art centre, its management is a pointer in the opinion of this paper. First, we look at some important terms. Culture, as the totality of identity factors, natural endowments, not excluding people in whom and through whom a nation is presented, is harnessed, preserved and exported through distinct and defined institution(s). Developing country in the context of this paper denotes a country whose cultural institutions do not, to a reasonable extent, contribute to national development. It could be due to inability of the country to make the cultural institutions function or refusal of the institutions to optimally live up to designated tasks. Nigeria, as a country, is in this case classified as a developing country.
1.6 SCOPE AND LINITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers Nigeria theatre and cultural promotion: a study of National theatre. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Theatre: Is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage.
Culture: A culture is a way of life of a group of people the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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