Society of African Journal Editors

Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

Nigerian Theatre and the Multilingual Challenge

Authors: MM Umukoro

Journal: Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

The paper examines the prospects and problems of theatrical communication in a multilingual and multicultural society like Nigeria. It attempts to identify the historical basis for multilingualism from the global perspective and explores the relative potentials of the literary arts of poetry, prose and drama in responding to the multilingual challenge of creative communication. The paper argues that translation and adaptation are the most effective vehicles for transcending the multilingual and multicultural hurdles, in addition to the skilful adoption of the paralingual modes of mime, gesture and movement in theatrical communication. It observes that much as translation has had a monumental impact on global literary communication, it is yet to make any domestic impact in Nigeria, owing to the low level of literary development of most of the country’s indigenous languages which continue to function purely as means of oral communication. It concludes that, far more than the stage, the screen has a greater capacity to cope with the multilingual challenge, which largely accounts for the boom currently being enjoyed by the Nigerian flourishing video industry.