Problems and Prospects of Theatre Entrepreneurship in the Nigerian Economy

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PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF THEATRE ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY Afolabi Taiwo Okunola
(Department of Theatre & Film Arts, University of Jos, Nigeria) Abstract
The business of theatre management is business of management. It is a culmination of the directive principles, canons and protocols governing theatre and management together to form a formidable team which thus makes a theatre entrepreneur. Being a theatre entrepreneur in Nigeria entails many dilemmas, challenges and hurdles. Thus, this paper seeks to address the problems and prospects facing theatre entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Introduction

Theatre management that requires a diligent entrepreneur to handle is a necessarily and inevitable aspect of the theatre. For instance, Innocent Ohiri in his article elaborately outlined the role of the theatre carried out by the theatre entrepreneur in this depressed economy. The management function of the manager becomes inevitable if the theatre is to be sustained and vibrant in this 21st century. However, theatre management or theatre entrepreneurship involve two principal words that needs to be broken down in order to really vista the concept in ditto. Zulu Sofola, one of the progenitors of the Nigerian theatre considers theatre as a medium of artistic expression where societal happenings are mirrored in a dynamic, living form. A metaphorical image of reality, it reflects the total cosmic, moral and metaphysical order of the life of the people. It is an arena where human beings are presented in a cosmic totality, acting and reacting to forces around them and within them, perceiving and being perceived by those interacting with them, and by those in the audience who experience with them the enigma that is the common lot of humanity.1 This elaborate, yet succinctly description of theatre with how the job description is being carried out tailored the duty of a theatre manager in his art and act of managing the theatre for the reflection, refraction and mediation in the society. Also, theatre is the accumulation of performances in time and in space before an audience. Robert Cohen opines that ‘…theatre, in this sense, is a combination of people, ideas and the works of art that emanate from their collaboration’.2 Therefore, theatre means both a place where theatrical performances are watched same as a collective effort of different people put together in order to achieve an organized, coordinated activity, event or theatrical performance. However, this is one side to the art of theatre management. The other specialty is the entrepreneurial dimension which has been defined from the perspective of its function and how it performs such functions. Entrepreneurship is more than mere “starting a business.” Greg Watson writes Entrepreneurship is a process through which individuals identify opportunities, allocate resources, and create value. This creation of value is often through the identification of unmet needs or through the identification of opportunities for change. Entrepreneurs see “problems” as “opportunities,” then take action to identify the solutions to those problems and the customers who will pay to have those problems solved.3 In essence, it involves the scouting for needs and the passion and mandatory principle to fulfill that particular need. Through this way, the need of the people are met same as that of the entrepreneur. Thus, entrepreneurial success is a function of the ability of an entrepreneur to see these opportunities in the marketplace, initiate change (or take advantage of change) and creates value through solutions by taking a calculated risk of investing idea, resources of all dimensions in order to ensure that such needs are met. Theatre management us, it is obvious that theatre entrepreneurship embedded in theatre management with Nigeria as a paradigm is a social institution which relies on the relationship between “actor and actor, actors and audience, actor and manager, and manager and...
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