Prof. Mrs J.N Mokwunyei (HOD Theatre Arts)

History of the Department of Theatre Arts

The Department of Theatre Arts, University of Benin, Benin-City was founded in 1978. At its inception, the Department was a unit of the Department of Creative Arts.  It attained autonomous status in 1982 following the University Senate’s approval of a Faculty status in the previous year for the entire Creative Arts discipline.

In 1987, the Faculty of Creative Arts was merged with the Faculty of Arts. The Department of Theatre Arts has since retained departmental status, providing manpower for the ever-growing creative and cultural industries as well as academia.

The Department is envisioned to provide training for a career in the broad areas of theatre practice and scholarship which include; Drama, Acting, Directing, Dance, Music, Performance Theory, Communication/Media Arts, Theatre Management, Scene Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design and Construction, Make-up, Educational Theatre, Theatre for Development, etc.

The Department runs a full-time and part-time Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree programmes.  However, the B. A. part-time programme is being phased out.  It also ran a two-year Diploma Programme which was phased out.  At the post-graduate level, the Department offers a PG.D, M.A. M.Phil/Ph.D and Ph.D programmes in Theatre Arts. The Department also houses the UNIBEN Band and Chorus.

Mission and Goal

The Theatre Arts programme is designed to offer students a broad-based education in the performing arts with the possibility of concentrating in one or two of its special areas of interest in the last two years of study.  Students are also required to participate in one capacity or another in the department’s bi-annual productions. Not only is the social nature of the performing arts stressed in the programme, individual skills are also developed that are aimed at training students as professional artistes, academics, media practitioners, etc.

Structure of the Department

The Department of Theatre Arts is multi-faceted, reflecting the many dimensions of the performing arts:

  1.       Drama
  2.       Theatre Management
  3.       Technical Theatre
  4.       Dance
  5.       Acting
  6.       Directing
  7.       Media Arts
  8.       Music


The fundamental philosophy of the Department is to provide students with a balanced education in the theory and practice of theatre; to that end the Department is committed to excellence in instruction and artistic example in all spheres of contact with students. Importantly, it is our resolve to offer the finest conceivable tuition, competencies and extra-curricular experiences for our students that our means allow. The Department seeks to nurture in all students a justifiable amount of the artistic, intellectual, and relational skills that can expand their limits, hone their perceptions, and add grace to their interactions.

Degree Programme and Degree Requirements

The Department offers a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree programme with credits obtained in the major areas of the performing arts, as well as a number of electives to be taken from other departments.

Entry Requirements

In addition to the statutory entry requirement of the University of Benin and Faculty of Arts, the following requirements apply specifically to the Department of Theatre Arts.


  1. Candidates having passed the UTME examinations must be screened to have a flair for the discipline through an audition.  The result of the test determines candidates to be finally recommended to the University Admission Board (U.A.B) for admission.

Candidates seeking admission into the programme should possess any of the following qualifications – a least five Ordinary Level Credit passes in WASC, WAEC, SC/GCE,NECO, SSCE or at least five merit level passes in the Teachers Grade II Certificate (TCII) Certificate or their equivalent qualifications at not more than two sittings.  The subjects should include English Language and two other Arts subject; one of which must be Literature in English.

U.T.M.E. Subjects are:-

a. Use of English

b. Any two Arts subjects (to include Literature in English)

c. And any other subject


  1. Direct Entry Candidates should possess Advanced Level GCE, HSC or IJMB; or OND, DTA, NCE, etc, at merit level and above.  These candidates would also be screened by the department through an audition before being admitted into the programme.

Admission Requirements for the Three-Year Full-Time Degree Programme (Direct Entry):

In addition to (ii) above, candidates who possess any of the following qualifications may be considered for admission:

  • At least two Advanced Level (A/L) Passes in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) or the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or a recognised equivalent qualification in any two Arts subjects.
  • Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE) with at least an overall Merit-level pass in Music or Theatre Arts from a recognised College of Education.  At least a credit level pass in the University of Benin Diploma in Theatre Arts or an equivalent qualification (Upper Credit) from any other recognised University.
  • At least an Upper Credit-level pass in the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Mass Communication from a recognised Polytechnic or College of Technology.

Teaching and Research Facilities

The main lecture room for the Department is the Theatre Hall.  It also shares other lecture rooms with Fine and Applied Arts and Institute of Public Administration and Extension Services (IPAES). The Department has a dance studio, media arts studio, a music studio, costume room, scene shop and props room.  It also shares the Language Laboratory with other departments for voice and speech instructions.  Apart from stage lanterns, lamps, wood drilling machine and other technical theatre equipment, the Department is also equipped with digital video cameras, television monitors, video players, editing suites, pianos, traditional drums, rich costume shop, etc.