Theatre and Film Studies


The Department of Theatre and Film Studies, also known as the Robeson School of Dramatics is named after renowned African America actor Paul Robeson. It started as Sub-Department of Dramatic Arts which came into effect after the approval by the Senate at its 138th meeting held on July 6, 1983 in the Continuing Education Centre, UNN. Before this approval, Drama was offered as a stress area for the B.A. English degree in the Department of English. This goes as far back as 1965.
The Dramatic Arts programme, referred to by the founding fathers of the university as the Robeson College of Dramatics, was provided for, building-wise, as one of the pioneer disciplines of the University of Nigeria at its inception in 1960 but because of staffing problems, the discipline was attached for a long time to the Department of English as a stress area. It was not until the 1982/83 academic session that Dramatic Arts was upgraded to a Sub-Department level thereby making it quasi-independent and giving it positive encouragement to run its own programmes and administration. From that time onwards, the Department began to award a degree in Dramatic Arts, and the Co-ordinator of Dramatic Arts became a member of the University Senate. Both the Joint Universities Action Committee (JUAC) 1966, the predecessor of the present-day N.U.C., and the N.U.C have in their separate reports endorsed the Dramatic Arts discipline in the University of Nigeria. The Department achieved a full departmental status in 2004.
The Department of Theatre Arts can boast of a high rate of retention for both staff and students. From an academic strength of 3 in 1981/82 the number rose to 10 in 1983/84 and 14 in 1984/85. Today, we have a total of 10 academic, 3 technical and 3 support (administrative) staff. Correspondingly our student admission rose from 10 in 1983/84 to 95 in 1989/90 academic year to 220 presently. Our graduation figures rose from 3 in 1986/87 to an expected figure of 62 in the present academic year. The current population of postgraduate students is over forty.
The Theatre and Film Studies programme at the University of Nigeria offers four years of formal studies (for JME entrants) and three years (for Direct entry candidates). The
programme combines a strong theoretical base with practical technical and management studies. There is an option for industrial attachment but practical work is mandatory within the departmental through dramatic productions for students. Field visits to selected organizations and locations are also undertaken. Theatre Laboratory, a three level course, is used to assess the practical activities of students.
There are eight stress areas indicated by the middle digit of the course numbering. The stress areas are as follows:
0. Foundations and History\ Research Methods
1. Dramatic Theory, Literature and Criticism
2. Technical Theater
3. Acting
4. Directing
5. Playwriting
6. Theater in Education\Children’s Theatre
7. Comparative Drama\Theatre
8. Film Studies
9. Applied/Interactive Theatre
10. Dance