On the occasion of what would’ve been his 84th birthday, Google is celebrating the late Nigerian theatre king, Ola Rotimi.
Born Olawale Gladstone Emmanuel Rotimi, the playwright is one of the most influential figures in the Nigerian theatre space. Referred to as “a complete man of the theatre”, he was also an actor, a director, choreographer and designer, who created performance spaces, influenced by traditional architectural forms.
Ola Rotimi was born on the 13th of April 1938 to drama enthusiasts, which would eventually lead him on to the bright lights of the theatre. Before his death in August 2000, he was a significant contributor to the growth and development of Nigerian theatre.
Rotimi often examined Nigeria’s history and ethnic traditions in his works. His first plays ‘To Stir the God of Iron‘ and ‘Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again‘ were staged at the drama schools of Boston University and Yale, respectively.
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Some of his other works include the highly successful ‘The Gods Are Not to Blame‘, ‘Kurunmi and the Prodigal‘ which was written for the second Ife Festival of Arts; ‘Ovonramwen Nogbaisi‘ about the last ruler of the Benin empire, ‘If: A Tragedy of the Ruled‘ and ‘Hopes of the Living Dead‘.
Ola Rotimi’s plays mainly focus on moral dilemmas: good versus evil and right versus wrong.
He was the founder of the Ori Olokun theatre collective in Ile Ife.