According to some quarters, DRAMA “ is a written work of art meant to be acted” while THEATRE “ is the enactment of a written work of art” so it could be summed up like this, Drama is on PAGE while Theatre is on STAGE. However some say, both are complimentary, so trying to differentiate them may lead to some unconscious overlap or unavoidable duplication when trying to refer to them as substitutes.
In the Nigerian Higher Institutions usually under the Faculty of ARTS we have the CREATIVE/DRAMATIC/PERFORMING/THEATRE ARTS as it is differently called in different Universities e.g. UNILAG, OAU-IFE, UNILORIN, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN etc. As earlier mentioned in the first paragraph, these differences in the names decide what is taught and how students are being assessed, with some being practically better, some theoretically and others even adding strands of the Music or Fine Art department, but outside graduation or the walls of the university, students of the departments are assumed to have learnt the same things and assessed on same scale, how the students fare outside the academic world is usually low compared to their mates who didn’t learn in the university, except the ones who go out of their way to improve their craft, so, is it the naming of the departments, the curriculum, or the lecturers who are meant to teach these students, that are responsible for these practical insufficiencies? This remains a question to be answered.
However, this paper will make some comparisons of the Theatre Arts department and the Prestigious Faculty of Law and see if there could be structural re semblances in the Faculty of Law that can also be put in place to make the Theatre/Performing/Dramatic/Creative Arts department also Prestigious, although as the writer, the performing arts is a ground which I am familiar, so, making comparisons in the faculty of Law needs me to thread cautiously.
The Faculty of Law, means that there are different departments of legal studies all together in the Faculty, the Faculty of Arts or Social Sciences could have had Law as one of its departments comfortably but it was thought to be able to stand on its own as a Faculty, likewise, the Department of Theatre arts under the Faculty of Arts. Now applying the same structure of the Faculty of Law to the Department of Theatre, means that we have THE FACULTY OF THEATRE ARTS with the following strand as its departments . Department of Acting, Department of Dance and Choreography, Department of Directing, Playwriting, Cinematography, Dramatic Criticism, Stage management, Theatre Management, Costume and Make-up, Children Theatre… With this structure, all theoretical and basic practical knowledge will be taught within the first two academic sessions, then students will have slots to major in their area of strength or interest in their Third and Forth Academic Sessions.
However, if the structure of the Department of Theatre/Performing/Dramatic/ Creative Arts being a Faculty is unrealistic, there is another way out to make sure graduates meet the demand of the outside world. It can still be a department under the Faculty of Arts, running its usual academic calendar, but after the graduation, there should be a designated place/places for practical training for at least One year, just like we have the Law school, where all graduates of the faculty of Law from all the Universities across the Country must attend if they want to practice the profession and it will be called N.T.S (NIGERIAN THEATRE SCHOOL), with seasoned professionals in the field to help improve the skills of graduates in their various areas of speciality within the study of Drama and Theatre, and it will also build a clan or a society of graduates from different schools to be able to rub minds and learn from each other so that they all come out into the performance world and business as like minds.
Finally, our society will learn to appreciate the Drama or Theatre Arts so every prospective student will not have to be looked down on for choosing this path of study, the N.T.S will bring content control and will go a long way in bringing this field to a greater height and make it as professional as possible, a place where hard work, creativity, expression, exposure, reverence, discipline and prosperity will be the end product, also a field to reckon with globally and locally and the creation of a student artiste village where graduates and practitioners of this field will co-exist to make exploits, and interact with the diverse cultures and methods of teaching they have been exposed to during their undergraduate studies, just like the N.Y.S.C
– Bayo Adeniyi
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