Hubert Ogunde
Personal
Other names:
Job / Known for: Theatre manager and musician
Left traces: Ogunde Theatre
Born
Date: 1916-07-10
Location: NG Ososa, near Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State
Died
Date: 1990-04-04 (aged 74)
Resting place: GB Ososa, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State
Death Cause: Lung cancer
Family
Spouse:
Children:
Parent(s): Jeremiah Deinbo and Eunice Owotusan Ogunde
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Slogan
Theatre is a weapon for social change
About me / Bio:
Hubert Ogunde was a Nigerian actor, playwright, theatre manager, and musician who founded the first contemporary professional theatrical company in Nigeria, the African Music Research Party, in 1945. He has been described as "the father of Nigerian theatre, or the father of contemporary Yoruba theatre". In his career on stage, he wrote more than 50 plays, most of which incorporate dramatic action, dance, and music, with a story reflecting the political and social realities of the period. His first production was a church-financed play called The Garden of Eden. It premiered at Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos, in 1944. Its success encouraged Ogunde to produce more plays, and he soon left his job with the police force for a career in the theatre. In the 1940s, he released some plays with political commentaries: The Tiger's Empire, Strike and Hunger and Bread and Bullet. During the 1950s, he toured various Nigerian cities with his travelling troupe. In 1964, he released Yoruba Ronu, a play that generated controversy and earned him the wrath of Chief Akintola, premier of the Western Region. The Ogunde Theatre was banned in the Western Region of Nigeria for two years as a result. This ban was only revoked by the new military government of Lt. Col. F. A. Fajuyi on the 4th of February, 1966. In the late 1970s, he was spurred by the success of Ija Ominira and Ajani Ogun, two pioneering Yoruba feature-length films, to co-produce his first celluloid film, Aiye, in 1979. He released Jaiyesimi, Aropin N'tenia, and Ayanmo, feature-length films influenced by Yoruba mysticism, thereafter. Ogunde starred in Mister Johnson, the 1990 motion picture that also featured Pierce Brosnan. The movie was shot on location in Toro, near Bauchi, Nigeria. He died of lung cancer in London, England, on 4 April 1990. He was buried in his hometown of Ososa, where his house has been turned into a museum. He was survived by his wives and children, some of whom have continued his legacy in the theatre industry.
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