Publication Date

Spring 1997


I chose the topic 'Ghana's Theater and It's Focus on the Atlantic Slave Trade' because I was very interested in how I perceived Ghanaians to address this part of their history. I found the topic to be considered taboo and surprised by the lack of knowledge many people had of the subject. I then became interested to find what factors went into creating a drama on the slave trade and if and how it would be received if the subject was address in artistic manner through theater was an efficient way to educate on the subject because it included both emotions and fact in it's portrayal of history. I believe these are both necessary for a complete understanding of this sensitive issue. I studied four different dramas and sought their playwrights, directors, actors, stage managers, and audience members to interview. Through certain techniques of field research, I was able to find how and why the theater pieces were created, and what role the director, actor and audience member had in each production, their methods and motivations, and how it was, as a tense and silent issue received by the local Ghanaian public. I found that most of the authors wrote on the Atlantic slave trade because they had a desire to express how they viewed the issue and it's history; the director wanted to help their audience confront the issue using a comprehensible and entertaining medium, and the actors' involvement and attitude was usually characterized by their knowledge of the examined audience response. Steps are slowly being taken to educate Ghanaians on this poignant chapter in the history by means of the stage. A long road, however,still separates the present and the coming to terms with the past, but some very creative and motivated Ghanaians are helping the issue. They have used their skills and interlect to enable their people, through Theater, to hear the lost voice of their ancestors who were involved in the Atlantic slave trade.