African Popular Theatre

September 1995
63 black and white, 2 line illustrations
288 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
ISBN: 9780852555330
Format: Paperback
James Currey

African Popular Theatre

From Precolonial Times to the Present Day

David Kerr

An overview of African popular theatre, its history and contemporary forms
In this survey of theatre forms in sub-Saharan Africa from pre-colonial times to the present day, popular theatre is interpreted widely to include not only conventional drama, but such non-literary forms of performance as dance, mime, dramatised story-telling, masquerades, improvised urban vaudeville theatre, and the theatre of resistance and social action. The book also considers theatre embedded in the modern media of film, radio and television.

Kenya: EAEP

Keywords: African Studies


For those of us who attempt to teach both francophone and anglophone African theater, David Kerr's studies in popular theater ranging from very early precolonial times (sixteenth century) to the post-apartheid era are already providing a godsend. He himself is the first to point out, in a remarkably self-deprecating preface, that there are lacunae in this work, but his achievement is important in that all the different guides to the theatre in general or to African theatre in particular...lack a synthetic, chronological approach linking together theatrical movements and influences in various countries to the changing perspectives of African economies and politics. - Ann Fuchs in RESEARCH IN AFRICAN LITERATURES
Kerr is informative on every page...In his preface Kerr modestly pleads that his book is not definitive. Since new theatre is being created all the time it could never be so, but it will do for a very long time to come, enthralling to theatre historians and Africanists alike. - Alastair Niven in THE TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
Kerr's admirably documented African Popular Theatre is a must for an Africanist library. - Harold A. Waters in WORLD LITERATURE TODAY
David Kerr has produced one of the most intriguing, comprehensive and informative studies of African theatre that exists and we are all in his debt ... One of the most exciting and informative features of this book is the manner in which it offers a genuinely pan-African view and creates reference and relationships in terms of popular theatre practice across boundaries both of time and place ... This is a study that belongs on every booklist for courses in African theatre; it is written with informed enthusiasm and is not only required reading for anyone concerned with African politics, history and performance, but also pleasurable reading.- Martin Banham in LUCAS BULLETIN

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