The Birth of Theatre in Colonial Lagos.
By 1886, the population of Lagos had risen from 25,000 in 1861 to 38,000 and with it, came rise in the need for recreational facilities in Lagos. In direct response to this need, the top cream of the Lagos elite- Bishop Ajayi Crowther, J.A Otunba-Payne, Robert Campbell, Charles Foresythe, J.P.L Davies and a host of others go together on October 24, 1866 and opened “The Academy” as it was called “as a social and cultural centre for public enlightenment, dedicated to the promotion of arts, science and culture”
Between 1866 and 1910, several groups after the fashion of “The Academy” were founded, dedicated in one way or the other to the promotion of culture and arts. Among the most successful were the Philharmonic Society which was founded by Otunba-Payne in 1873, the Lagos Grammar School Entertainment Society (1872), the Rising Entertainment Society, the Orphean Society, founded by J.Otunba-Payne, the People’s Union (1904), the Lagos Glee Singers(1910),the United Native Progressive Society and the Brazilian Dramatic Company under the management of P.Z.Da Siliva.
There was also the Annual Coker Concerts, organized by Robert A. Coker, the “Mozart of West Africa” which became extremely popular in entertainment circles in “ Victorian Lagos”
Practically, all these groups organized shows of their own. Quite predictably ,the programmme format and contents of these performance were based on those of the English music halls that were prominent in England in the late 1860’s and the early 1870’s--- comic songs, love songs, duets. Solos, glees and recitations, usually excerpts from plays, novels ,and comic sketches. Somehow, music tended to dominate in these performances. Source: Drama and Theatre in Nigeria. #heritage #history #theatre #stageplay #coloniallagos #ASIRIMagazine #culture #education #iconic #greatnigerians #thespians #actors #comicart #glee #dramatic