Myth was the first adventure of mankind’s mind and will not be the last, but certainly, it was the most creative one. It was the basis for many arts and literary forms, including theatre.

In ancient Greece, the theatre was born from the womb of myth.

The earliest origins of drama are to be found in Athens where ancient hymns, dithyrambs, were sung in honour of the Greek god Dionysus. These hymns serve as a song of worship to the god.

These hymns were later adapted for choral processions in which participants would dress up in costumes and masks.

Certain members of the chorus eventually evolved to take special roles within the procession, but they were not yet actors in the way we would understand it.

The development came later in the 6th century BC, when the tyrant, Pisistratus, who then ruled the city, established a series of new public festivals. One of these, the “City Dionysia”, a festival of entertainment held in honour of the god Dionysus, featured competitions in music, singing, dance and poetry.

The most remarkable of all the winners was said to be a wandering bard called Thespis: The man who made “the innocent error”.

Originally, Thespis of Icaria was a mere choir boy, who sang dithyrambs (song about stories from mythology) for the public. While singing, he apparently stepped away from the others to render a dramatic line on personal terms. The singular act of Thespis on that occasion was widely believed to have birth theatre as an act of performance. Hence, theatre practitioners derived the term “Thespian” from the name Thespis as he was generally regarded as the father of theatre.

Shifting to Africa, theatre is one of the cultural elements that best exemplifies continent. The theory of theatre can as well be traced back to the African Culture, Practice and Festival. African festivals integrate instrumental music, song, dance, meme, costumes, fine arts and narrative performance.

Preparations for festival employ the talents of skilled artists and crafts people. Carvers, smiths, weavers, cultural historians, poets, musicians, and dancers carefully plan annual celebrations.

So many things that are regarded as costume in theatre are naturally peculiar to these African Cultural Festivals.

The emergence of modern-day theatre cannot be described without putting into consideration the impact of “The African Cultural Festivals”.

Some elements of African Cultural festivals which have been adapted to literature and films include songs and dance, mask and masquerades, proverbs, idioms and other aspects of language, history, and myth, festivals and several others.

Peculiar to African Cultural Festivals and Modern-day theatre are:

Rehearsals: A rehearsal is an activity in the performing arts that occurs as preparations for performance in music, theatre, dance and related arts including cultural performance. Prior to every cultural celebrations, there is always a planned rehearsal among groups to practice what they intend to present during the festival. This, as well, is an important aspect of theatre production. All casts/characters would have constantly gathered to rehearse before the final presentation. This is also applicable to film and movie production; movie scripts are rehearsed before shooting.

The Acting Area: This is the area of a stage left visible to the audience, usable by actors in the performance of a scene. There is always a space provided for performers in cultural festivals dance and perform.