Dr. Osonye Tess Onwueme
Playwright   Novelist   Scholar   Cultural Activist   International Speaker   Performer


"Tess is a rare jewel in this country..." - Dr. K. Kendall, Smith College, MA.


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Selected History of National and International Production of my Plays

August-Sept. 2010: Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen (both the Hindi translation and the original English version of the play) performed on stage at the International Khatakali Centre in New Delhi, India.

April 2010: What Mama Said performed on stage by the by the ABU (Ahmadu Bello University) Performance Department, directed by Steve Daniel in April 2010.

March 2010:  Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen performed on stage by the ABU (Ahmadu Bello University) Performance Department, directed by Steve Daniel, March 26-30, 2010.

November 2009:  Wazobia staged as the inaugural performance for the 2009 Tess International Conference in Abuja,Nigeria. The play was staged on November 12, 2009 by the Abuja University Theatre Troupe, directed by Olympus Ejue.

December 2007:  The World Premiere of Parables For A Season at the KICS International Amphitheatre, Khartoum, Sudan, in collaboration with the American Artistic director, Mark Webber.

April 2007:  Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen was staged at Purdue University, Calumet/Lafayette in the Spring of 2007.

September 2005:  Repeat Performance/Broadcast of my play Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen for the BBC World Drama Service Program.

September 2004: Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen, produced by the BBC World Drama Service, BBC Play of the Week, International Drama Feature for the Fall of 2004.

June-December 2001: Then She Said It; What Mama Said: An extended international production, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, and produced by in collaboration with the Nigerian Theatre Guild, the University of Calabar, Nigeria, and the Cultural Center in the Cross-River State, Nigeria. 

April 27-May 28, 2001: The Missing Face, produced off-Broadway by the New Federal Theatre in New York City; with Producing Director, Woodie King, Jr.

April 1996: The Reign of Wazobia, Directed by Ayana Bateman, Ensemble Theatre Company, off-off Broadway Production, NY, New York.

October 1995: Legacies. Staged at the Kher Theatre, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI. Directed by Paul Carter-Harrison.

November 1994:   The Reign of Wazobia.  Performed at the Kher Theatre, UW-Eau Claire. Directed by Tess Onwueme.

December 5, 1992:   Go Tell It To Women.  Staged under the auspices of the Consulate General of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, on the special occasion to mark my own special contributions to development of Nigerian Theatre and Culture at the Columbia University Dag Hammarskoldj Center, New York City, December 5, 1992.

October 1992: Go Tell It To Women. Staged at the Nommo  African American Play Festival, produced by the Ensemble Theatre Company, New Jersey in the Symphony Hall, Newark, New Jersey. Directed by Evelyn and Marvin Kazambu.

January 1992: Legacies.  Performed by the ETA Professional Theatre, S. Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Directed by Kimati Porter.

December 1991:       Someday Soon.  Performed by the Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre, New York.  Directed by Woodie King, Jr. & J.E. Franklin.

April 1991: The Reign of Wazobia.  Produced by Professor K. Kendall, Chair, Drama Department, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

April 1991: The Artist’s Homecoming.  Performed by the School of Performance, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey. Directed by Claudia Chavice.

October 14-30, 1988: The Desert Encroaches.  Performed at the Pfeifer Theatre, as one of the selected plays, marking the occasion of the First International Women Playwrights Conference, State Univ. of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. Directed by Ed Smith.

Feb. 4-March 301988: The Broken Calabash.  Performed at the Bonstelle Theatre by the Theatre Department at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and directed by Dr. Von Washington.           

April 4 –13,1993: The Reign of Wazobia. A showcase production of African Drama   at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

June 30,1989: Legacies. International premiere at the Inauguration Ceremony for the Performing Arts Department, and sponsored by the Center for Igbo Studies, Imo State University, Nigeria.  Subsequently, the play was selected as the Vice-Chancellor’s Command Performance for the convention of the Nigerian University Vice-Chancellors, and Governors of the Eastern States of Nigeria.                                                          

March 30, 1988: A Scent of Onions. Produced as the Commencement/Convocation Drama Performance, Federal University of Technology, FUTO Theatre. This play was also reproduced as the Vice-Chancellor’s Command Performance for the first Commencement/Convocation Ceremony of Imo State University in December, 1986.

September 26-1987:  Mirror for Campus, Produced as A Show-Case Command Performance for the Visiting Nigerian Vice-Chancellors/Presidents of Universities, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. In 1988, this production was taken to the National Theatre in Lagos, followed with encore performances in a number of Nigerian universities. Examples are the University of Nigeria Nigeria, Nsukka in April, 1988, the Univ. of Port Harcourt, Rivers State in May 1988, and the Imo State University, Okigwe, in June 1988.

April 6-10, 1987: In Search of a Theme. Produced as a Visiting Command Performance presented at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, during the Annual Convention of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA).

April, 1986:  The Desert Encroaches. Produced as a Command Performance, to mark the occasion of the installation of Justice Alagoa (Rtd.) as Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. An encore performance of this production featured at the Oduduwa Hall at the University of Ife, Ile Ife, in June 1986.


October, 1984:  The Broken Calabash, First show-cased at the National Theatre, Lagos, Nigeria as part of the national annual drama features. After touring a number of cities, this successful production adapted for film by the National Television Authority (NTA) Nigeria. The film was featured for national broadcast, marking the Nigerian Independence Silver Jubilee Celebration.

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