Cultural and Creative Arts

Drama and theatre

The origins of theatre have been traced to myth and rituals found in dances and mimed performances by masked dancers during fertility rites and other ceremonies that marked important passages in life.

Early societies acted out patterns of life, death, and rebirth associated with the welfare of village tribes. Imitation, costumes, masks, makeup, gesture, dance, music, and pantomime were some of the theatrical elements found in early rituals.

At some unrecorded time, these ceremonies and rituals became formalized in dramatic festivals and spread from Greece to the western world and from India to the eastern world.

Some scholars claim that it may have originated from African primitive folklore, traditional customs, tales or saying, preserved orally among a people.

There are scholars who are of the view that it originated from the worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, fertility and creation in ancient Greek. The theory of the scholars who posit that dramatic art began in Africa states that it might have originated from moonlight stories told around bonfire. Another origin from Africa is that it started as a result of the rites and sacrifices carried out by priests in propitiation of different gods in Africa

Introduction to Drama and Theatre

The word drama is derived from “dram”, a Greek word which means “to do”. It is one of the ways through which man expresses his view about the society either positively or negatively.

The word “theatre” is derived from the Greek word “theatron” which means the viewing place or seeing place.

Definitions of Drama

(i) Drama simply means a serious play written for actors or actresses to act and perform on a stage.

(ii) It is a genre of literature usually written to be performed.

(iii) According to Aristotle, drama is the imitation of a person or persons in action.

(iv) Drama is play from a story about important events in the lives of characters (people).

(v) Drama is a ‘reproduction’ or ‘reflection’ of life;

(vi) Drama is an enactment of real and imagined events through actions and dramatic competences.

(vii) Drama is imitating and impersonating people and situation.

(viii) Drama is a story acted, the story may be real or fictitious; drama can be scripted or non-scripted.

Definitions/Meaning of Theatre

(i) A theatre is a specially prepared place where plays are performed by actors and actresses for audience to be entertain.

(ii) A theatre is a place which houses a stage where actors perform in an auditorium where the audience or patrons or the public are seated.

(iii) Theatre is one of the oldest and most popular forms of entertainment in which actors perform live for an audience on a stage or in any other space designated for the performance.

(iv) A theatre is permanent or temporary space set aside for performances.

(v) A theatre is a building, room or other setting where plays or other dramatic presentations are performed.

People Involved in Drama

The people involved in a drama/theatre are:

  1. cast (actors/actresses)
  2. crew and
  3. the audience.

The actors and actresses are the performers in plays, movies or television. They are heroes and heroines of any play.

The crew refers to a group of people who help in the making of a successful drama behind the scene, while the audience generally means the people who came for entertainment.


  1. Define the term “drama” in your own word.
  2. Give three (3) definitions of “theatre”.
  3. Mention the people who are involved in the making of a drama.
  4. Explain the term” drama” from what you have been taught.
  5. What is theatre?

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