From Nativist Performance to the Stage Popular Theatre: The New Cosmopolitan Outlook of the Kwagh-hir Dramaturgy Among the Tiv People of Nigeria

Terhemba Shija


For a long time, theatre scholarship in Africa has associated the Kwagh-hir and other traditional theatre with ritual practice. But as recent research findings by Iorwuese Hagher have proved, the ritual theory is not as pronounced as the folktale which is said to metamorphose into an elaborate Kwagh-hir performance. While this paper disagrees with both paradigms, it argues that the Kwagh-hir has no fixed primordial essence as it merely adopts and adapts to major cultural trends in the Tiv society. By using the historicist theoretical approach however, the paper discovers that dance and song have been the only constant elements of the Kwagh-hir performance that gives it life, and as such, draws it closer to Western stage drama and its current cosmopolitan orientation. This paper is inspired by the various stage performances this writer has watched both in Nigeria and Europe. He was a member of the Nigerian delegation that watched the Kende Kaase group and the Benue State Council for Arts and Culture at the Pan-African Festival of Arts and Culture (PANAFEST) at Cape Coast, Ghana in August 1999 as well as the Kwagh-hir performance at the Festival De L’imaginaire organized by Mason Des Cultures Du Moude in Paris, France, February 2001.

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN 2422-8435

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©