Department Of Theatre And Performing Arts
The Theatre and Performing Arts Department was created on the 2nd of June 2006. The programme was formerly called Drama which existed as a sub unit under the Department of English and Drama, a status which it has maintained for 31 years before it now became a full fledged department. As a result of the change of nomenclature and status our courses have to be re-designated and new ones taken on board in order to bring our programme in line with what operates in similar departments all over the world. In addition, we have responded to the NUC accreditation report and our curriculum review and strategic plan by coming up with innovative programmes to add relevance to our catchment area and the nation in general. We have adequate staff available to run the various programmes and courses which have been designed to make our students job creators instead of job seekers.
Over the years the drama programme has grown larger and more complex that its existence as unit under the current department of English has become an undermining factor.
In the beginning drama began as a programme meant to develop into a full blown department, with its own vote book and administrative and academic staff.
This was however changed in 1976. Despite this change, drama remained a sub-department and when the department of English and modern languages was renamed, it became Department of English and Drama, which is still the current official title.
As early as 1975/76 the proposal for the Department of Performing Arts or Drama and Film had already been submitted. This was followed by the Faculty Board of Arts and Social Sciences resolution of 1980, approving complemented b y the report of the accreditation of courses in 1991 by the NUC which stated categorically that Drama as designed and practiced in ABU, has no business staying under the Department of English and therefore recommended that a department of Drama should be created. Despite these overwhelming efforts, the department has still not be created.
The presentations made to the Faculty Development Committee in January 1976 – May 1977 indicated an overwhelming support, relevance and need for a separate department of Performing Arts (Drama).
Even though the committee recommended that Mass Communication should be in Literature, Drama was finally left in the Department of English. The eventual decision that Mass Communication like Drama should start as a sub-department under Sociology also failed. Mass Communication has since becoming a department now but Drama has not.
“The National objectives and FASS” drawn up the same year indicate clearly the direction towards which courses should be tailored. We make bold to start that no other course has come close to the realization of the National objectives as drama has done.
Again when the split of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was reopened one of the issues discussed and agreed upon was the creation of Drama department and others. Now the Faculties have been created. Now is the time to create the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts once and for all. Our request and demand is justified in several grounds.
Our curriculum is comprehensive and comparable to the curriculum of Theatre and Performing Arts programmes the world over. We are the only ones offering courses on community and Popular Theatre Comprehensively in Nigeria. And we are certainly the only one offering Development Communication as a pioneer in the field of popular theatre. The Drama unit of ABU is always sited and quoted all over the world as the father of popular Theatre in Nigeria. In fact based on the ABU programme NUC recommended it as a compulsory course all Theatre programmes in Nigerian Universities.
The staff of the section have represented the Department, the University and the country at World Festivals, Seminars and Conferences to popular acclaim and have worn awards and fellowships based on it.
Since 1980 when the community popular Theatre campaigns began, the drama section can boast of being the programme that has organized and attended more workshops than any other of its type in Nigeria.
In addition to staff exposure or students have continuously benefited from improving teaching and scholarship as a result of the improved experiences of staff from these numerous workshops. And based on the work here, the students Association was elected as an Associate member of the International Amateur Theatre Association. This was crowned last year when the students won the overall best and first position in the annual Universities Theatre Arts Festival.
One aspect in which the Drama programme in ABU has excelled is that it has generated a lot of scholarly publications and books and plays, which are widely sought after in the academic market.
The section has also been able to establish institutional linkages with Universities in the UK, the US, Cameroon and Tanzania. In fact the section is inundated daily with requests from all over the world by students and researchers hungry to study and learn about the ABU Drama work.
The Drama village, the studio where most practical work is done has become a Mecca of all sorts appearing in the Encyclopedia of World Architecture. Since 1976, it has received over 400 visiting scholars, researchers and performance troupes from within and outside the country.
Drama as a department has the potential for generating a good percentage of its programme cost, what it cannot do for now because of its being trapped under the Department of English. These revenue can come from producing commissioned plays, mounting television programmes etc. The current wave of independent television makes this potential even more tenable in addition to the fact that current trend in development, mobilization and communication has recognized the potential and power of Theatre as an effective communication and mobilization tool.
At present, the drama unit has adequate staff: two Professors, one Associate Professor, two Senior Lecturers, four Lecturer I, three Lecturer II, three Assistant Lecturers, 1 Graduate Assistant and facilities comparable to other programmes.
A good thrust of our programme has been self-reliance. A lot of our graduates have set up on their own and have become successful. Others have made their marks in banking, public relations, radio, television, journalism, publishing, the civil service, army, police, custom and the like.
AIM: The programmatic direction/intent of the Department of Theatre and performing Arts is the training of young men and women to develop a self reliant approach to living, to be professional and patriotic in the practice of their chosen professions in ways which contribute to building their societies.
OBJECTIVES: The Department of Theatre and Performing Arts has the following objectives:
- To produce self-reliant skillful individuals who can earn a living on their own and generate employment for others.
- To produce researchers and curators of Nigerian cultural forms for documentation and revival.
- To produce well rounded high-level manpower that can fit into public services in administration, personnel, advert and PR, broadcasting, film/video production and in teaching.
- To produce researchers and scholars in the filed of Nigerian and African performance traditions and theatre.
- To produce individuals who could theatre as a method of social investigation and communication and as a means of finding solution to development problems.
- To produce graduates who will be equipped to do social and development work under any situation.
- To produce graduates who will contribute to the literary development of Nigeria by writing plays, books and critical works.
The Theatre and Performing Arts programme is designed to develop well rounded and skillful graduates who will fit into the Nigerian society. The programme grounds the students in the theoretical basis of theatre and performance as they relate to Nigeria and Africa as well as in performance aesthetics and techniques with a comparative exploration of practices all over the world. The programme is intended to graduate students who can earn a living on their own or who if they need to work are flexible and dexterous enough to adapt and work in a range of fields and areas. A major thrust of the ABU programme is the community/popular theatre courses which runs up to the postgraduate or graduate levels.
This enables the students to use the theatre as a methodology of communication; as a tool for addressing societal problems and as a means of generating community participation and involvement in their own development.
In addition, the programme will benefit from an interdisciplinary design by picking courses from the social sciences to enhance the horizons of our graduates.
The Theatre and Performing Arts programme is designed make our students relevant to television, radio, and film/video production in Nigeria. This is a growing field made more relevant by the need for local programming occasioned by the deregulation of media ownership in Nigeria.
In addition, the programme is more responsive to the changes in the global would of science and technology of market driven development. It seeks to open its proteins to under applicability. As noted by the vice-chancellor of Durham university, Sir Kenneth Calman, "trainee doctors should offer course in DRAMA, literature and philosophy to compliment their medical training… he proposed a year of studies in humanities as part of a six-year course… doing this evil enable them to draw scientific evidence of benefits of arts therapy which will go a long way in helping them improve the qualify of life of their patients".
GRADUATES REQUIREMENTS: Students are requested to have a minimum of 160 credits by the time of graduation for those coming in through the UME and 120 credits for those coming in by Direct Entry. These units are arrived at because of the high level of practical projects done in theatre and performing arts. Since each practical course carries 4 credit units, if the number of units needed for graduation is not upped, some students may simply pick 3 practical courses in a semester.
In addition, students are required to submit a project of not more than 50 pages on theoretical, practical, creative, critical and textual areas of theatre and performing arts.
FIELD TRIP/INDUSTRIAL ATTACHMENT: All 300-Level B.A Theatre and Performance students must undertake a two weeks filed trip to a community and take up residence there for the period to engage in community theatre project. Three lecturers will be in attendance to guide the students.
At the end of the First Semester all 300-Level students will undergo a field trip to acquire an industrial attachment experience at a radio-television station, the national Film Institute, the Television College or a communications and public Relations Outfit to acquire practical and hands on experience for their final year media work and project. Three lecturers will be with the students to provide necessary guide and supervision. Performances from the industrial attachment will form the C.A's for the courses concerned.
Academic ProgrammesPGD Development Communication
PGD Theatre for Development
PGD Home Video Production
B.A. Theatre and Performing Arts
B.A. English (Drama)
M.A.Theatre Performing Arts (Full-Time)
M.A.Development Communication (Full-Time)
M.A. Drama (Full-time)
Ph.D Drama (Full-Time)
Ph.D Development Comm. (Full-Time)
Ph.D Theatre and Performing Arts (Full-Time)
Ph.D Theater Dev. (Full-Time)
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