Children's Theatre in Ethiopia

Article English OPEN
Ashagrie, Aboneh (2013)
  • Publisher: Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
  • Journal: Aethiopica (issn: 2194-4024, eissn: 1430-1938)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.15460/aethiopica.15.1.662
  • Subject: Ethiopian Studies | Theatre; Art; Children; Literature; Amharic; History; | ddc:300 | ddc:490 | ddc:700 | ddc:792 | ddc:800 | ddc:890 | ddc:900

When theatre arts emerged in Ethiopia 90 years ago, all characters in the pioneering play were performed solely by children in front of the Crown Prince Täfäri Mäkwännǝn, and members of the aristocracy. The tradition of considering children as a main force of stage production, and the tendency of showing dramatic performance by students to the benefit of adult audience, likewise, continued up until the establishment of the first professional public theatre in 1942. It was late in early 1980s that a change in perspective occurred to urge the indispensability of producing plays for children’s consumption. Such a new insight, within a few years, led to the establishment of the Children and Youth Theatre in Addis Abäba. This article chronologically portrays the history and development of Ethiopian children’s theatre and will hopefully add knowledge to the account of African theatre in particular and the world theatre in general.