From the inception of the University of Nigeria, the Paul Robeson Building was erected to house what late Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the founder of our University had intended to be the pioneer Department of Dramatic Arts in Nigeria. But according to Professor Dapo Adelugba, when Geoffrey Axworthy who was hired to begin the programme was cornered by his fellow compatriot at the University college Ibadan, drama was enclosed in the Department of English where it was taught as literature.
The joint Universities Action Committee endorsed an independent Dramatic Arts Department in 1965, but this was not immediately implemented probably because of the crises in the country then. However, in 1972 the Hartle committee again recommended for the establishment of an autonomous Drama Department which was echoed again by the Elton Committee in 1973.
However, in 1982-83 academic session, semi-autonomy was granted to Drama by making it a Sub-Department of English Department. The Sub-Department was eventually elevated to the status of a full Department, with a new nomenclature – Department of Theatre Arts, during the 296th meeting of the senate of the University of Nigeria, held on April 28, 2004.
In 2006, The Department received full accreditation from NUC, which also made our undergraduate programme its benchmark for Nigerian Universities. In 2008, the University of Nigeria Senate in its 338th meeting approved the revised undergraduate academic programme of the Department which now include film studies. It is important to note that even as a Sub-Department we had full accreditation to run B.A, M.A./PhD, and even the rare D. Litt.
We see the possibility of creating a department that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best performing Arts Departments in Africa, Europe and America. The vision therefore, is to have a department that is globally visible and salivating to both students and scholars.
Our mission is to attain academic excellence and to produce graduates with vision and entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, it is our desire to create an environment that conduces to effective teaching and scholarship.
We believe in disciplined staff and students, and handwork that will help our products to survive the challenges of the highly competitive open job market.