The ABU Drama village is an Iconic location in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. It is the studio of the department of theater and performing art where most of the practical work is done.
It has become a Mecca of all sorts appearing in the Encyclopaedia of World Architecture. Since 1976, it has received over 400 visiting scholars, researchers and performance troupes from within and outside the country.
According to available records, Steven Ehrlich designed this project while teaching at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. Integrating indigenous forms and materials with an innovative site plan, the Ahmadu Bello University Theatre – The drama village is a flexible art facility used for performances and drama workshops.
Steven Ehrlich looked for inspiration from the ancient Hausa cities of northern Nigeria with their mud-walled compound houses, and devised a theatre plan that echoes this traditional cloistered configuration.
The Drama village incorporates four circular thatched huts, linked by compound walls that are positioned to create a circular central performance area. This arrangement allows for a variety of configurations, from the traditional proscenium stage to theatre-in-the-round.
The huts provide flexibility and serve as audience seating, secondary performance spaces and individual studio workshops.
A domed mud-walled square room, or soro, anchors the south end of the facility and serves as the theatre entrance. A second soro, at the opposite end of the compound, houses back-stage functions. Both of these square volumes are detailed with traditional bas-relief ornamentation.
See photos of ABU Drama Village
UPDATE: The ABU drama village recently underwent a facelift. See photos below