Taiwo Afolabi

Theatre Department
Associate Professor

Office: RC 180
E-mail: taiwo.afolabi@uregina.ca
Phone: 306-585-5519
Website: https://cset.ca

Research interests
Socially Engaged/Applied theatre, community engagement, performance, policing, research ethics, arts leadership, cultural policy, sustainability in the performing arts, decolonization, and Dramaturgy

Dr. Taiwo Afolabi is an interdisciplinary artistic scholar from Africa with internationally recognized expertise in research-based theatre focusing on social justice, human rights, and anti-racism education among Indigenous, immigrant, and marginalized communities. Through global theatre projects/publications, his practice-based research encompasses issues of policing, sexual health education, Sustainable Development Goals, African theatre, homelessness, immigration, and language revitalization. He is the Director of the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (C-SET) and is the Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre (Tier II).

Further, as a theatre manager, and entrepreneur, Dr. Afolabi’s interest is in amplifying voices and experiences; and re-centering governance models, strategies and systems on the margin through the lens of decolonization, equity and anti-oppressive approaches. His experience in over a dozen countries across four continents in a variety of contexts focused on socially engaged and community-based creative practice for transformational change. Through storytelling and devised theatre, he works with communities on social issues pertinent to them, and his research continues to advance broad-minded thinking within the art and culture sector. Dr. Afolabi has co-edited three books and published articles in various books and reputable journals. He is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and the founding director of Theatre Emissary International (TEMi) in Nigeria and Canada.  Dr. Afolabi is the Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR)


Doctor of Philosophy (University of Victoria, 2020)
MA (University of Ilorin, 2016)
BA (Hons) (University of Jos, 2011)



  • 2021-present Critical Uncertainties and Future Scenarios for Prairie-based Theatre
  • 2020-2022 Re-imagining and Rebuilding the Prairie Theatre Sector
  • 2020-present Arts Leadership Training Program for BIPOC in Victoria, BC and Regina, SK—a mentoring program that involves 10 partners.
  • 2020-present - Arts Leadership Training Program for BIPOC in Victoria, BC and Regina, SK—a mentoring program that involves 10 partners.
  • 2017-2020 - The Onion Theatre Project (with Jasmindra Jawanda and the Victoria Immigrant Refugee Centre Society [VIRCS]). A youth refugee theatre project. Funded by the British Columbia Arts Council, the District of Saanich and the University of Victoria.
  • 2017 - Bridging Conversations: An Intercultural and Intergenerational Dialogue (with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, BC, Canada.
  • 2017 - Reminiscence Theatre for Seniors/Care Givers, Luthercorp, Victoria, BC, Canada.
  • 2016-2017 - Breaking down the fence: Exploring refugee advocacy through applied theatre, Ideafest, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
  • 2016 - Anti-bullying Project, New Immigrants and Victoria Police Department (VPD) (with Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Publications [selected]


  • Afolabi, T., Ogunnubi, O. and Terilya, S. (2022). Re-centering cultural performance and orange economy in post-colonial Africa: policy, soft power, and sustainability. Palgrave MacMillan. 314pgs
  • Afolabi, T. (ed.) (2021). West Africa Section. In: A. Breed and T. Prenkti (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Applied Performance. London: Routledge. 75-147 (74 pgs).
  • Oyewo, S., Okpadah, S., and Afolabi, T. (eds.) (2020). Committed theatre in Nigeria: perspectives on teaching and practice. Lexington Books. 238 pgs.
Edited journals
  • Afolabi, T. and Kandil, Y. (2022). Ethics and Socially Engaged Theatre. Canadian Theatre Review, 192.
  • Afolabi, T., Shercliff, E., and Speight, E., (2022). ‘Future histories’: positioning ourselves and connecting with others. Journal of Arts and Communities [JAAC], Vol. 13
Journal articles [peer-reviewed]
  • Afolabi, T., and Llewellyn, J. (2022). Ethics and research-based theatre: reflections from two practitioners. Drama Research: international journal of drama in education, Vol. 13:1, 1-24
  • Afolabi, T. (2021). Theorizing ethical questioning in applied theatre research. Applied Theatre Research, 9.2, 99-116
  • Afolabi, T. (2021). Theatre as service… my experience during the global pandemic in Canada. Canadian Theatre Review, 188, 38-41
  • Afolabi, T. (2021). From writing ethics to doing ethics: ethical questioning of a practitioner. Research in Drama Education: the Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 26.2, 352-357.
  • Afolabi, T. (2019). Performing Arts-based Interventions in Post-conflict Zones: Critical and Ethical Question, NJ: Journal of Drama Australia, Vol. 43.1, 51-66
  • Afolabi, T. (2018). Becoming ethical through relational interaction: an examination of a performance among IDP in Nigeria, Performing Ethos, Vol. 8, 3-18
  • Afolabi, T. (2018) “From ‘Their Stigma’ to ‘My Stigma’: An Examination of the ‘Skul Konekt’ Project among Adolescents in the North-central region of Nigeria”. Sage Open (Special Collection – Reproductive Health in Sub-Sahara Africa), 1-11
  • Afolabi, T. (2018). Participatory Theatre and the Millennium Development Goals Crusades in Nigeria. Makurdi Journal of Arts and Culture, Vol. 15.1, 15-32
  • Afolabi, T. (2017). Theatre and Participation: towards a holistic notion of participation. Applied Theatre Research, Vol. 5.2, 67-82
  • Afolabi, T. (2017). Mapping and enterprising independent theatre: sampling patterns from Nigeria. West African Theatre and Performing Arts Journal (WATPAJO), Vol. 2.2, 72-99.
  • Afolabi, T., and Okpadah, S. (2017). A Study of the Dramaturgy of Fatalism in Lancelot Imasuen’s Invasion 1897. the quint: an interdisciplinary quarterly from the north, Vol. 10.1, 171-190.
  • Afolabi, T. (2016). Theatre and Participation: a critical examination of Sherry Arnstein’s ladder of Participation in the Kamiriithu theatre experience. Applied Theatre Research, Vol. 4.3, 205-221

    Book Chapters [peer-reviewed]
  • Afolabi, T. (2022). “Ethics of precarity in applied theatre: a case study from Nigeria”. Applied Theatre: Ethics, edited by Sadeghi-Yekta, K., and Prendergast, M., New York: Bloomsbury, 203-220
  • Afolabi, T., Okpadah, S., and Ogah, M. (2022). “Modern African drama in crisis? An author in search of identity”, Staging 21st Century Tragedies. Theatre, Politics and Global Crisis, edited by Sidiropoulou, A., London: Routledge, 121-138
  • Afolabi, T. (2021). “Functional Arts: Theatre Praxis in Burkina Faso.” The Routledge Companion to Applied Performance: Volume 2, edited by Tim Prentki and Ananda Breed, Routledge. pp. 79-83
  • Afolabi, T. (2020). “Diversity Metrics? A reflection on themes from a refugee theatre project in Canada”, Cultural Policy Yearbook: Forced Migration and Cultural Production, edited by S. Ada, Istanbul: Cultural Policy and Management Research Centre & Iletisim Publisher. 2020, 56-64.
  • Afolabi, T., and Okpadah S. (2020). “Film and campaign against gender-based violence in Africa: a study of Ije” In Locating transnational spaces: culture, theatre and cinema, IATC and University of College of the North (Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah, Sue Matteson and Prayer Elmo Raj, eds.).
  • Afolabi, T., Hallewas, A., and Sadeghi-Yekta, K. (2019) “Shifting identities in new territories: creating theatre with and by immigrants”. Theatre and (Im)migration: New Essays on Canadian Theatre, Vol. 10, (Yana Meerzon, ed.), 451-471.
  • Afolabi, T., and Okpadah, S. (2019) “The politics of representation of pedagogues in Nollywood: a critical analysis of Somewhere in Africa: The Cries of Humanity” In Portrayals of Teachers and Teaching on Stage and Screen: Dramatic Depiction, Intellect Books (Diane Conrad and Monica Prendergast, eds.), 79-88.
  • Afolabi, T. (2018). “The Transiting Images of Nature in Ahmed Yerima’s Hard Ground” In Studies on Ecocriticism, Markudi: Kraft Publishers (Emmanuel Emasealu and Desen Mbachaga), 82-96.
  • Afolabi, T. (2017). “A study of cultural entrepreneurship approaches of Terra Kulture” In African Theatre: Studies in Theory and Criticism, Ilorin: University of Ilorin Press and Accra: Methodist University Press, (Ziky Kofoworola, Martin Owusu, & Abdulrasheed Adeoye, eds.), 468-482.
  • Dominic, L., Afolabi, T., Oyewo, S., Musa, O. (2016). “Gender Issue and Theater Performance in Promoting Wellness among Artistes” In Harvest of Research Outcomes to Confirm achievement of Millennium Development Goals, Cullivier Verlag, Gottingen, Germany (Simeon, O. Jekayinfa, ed.), 296- 303.

Conference Presentations [selected]

  • Afolabi, T. (June 2022). Theatre as a medium to develop curriculum change. A keynote at the 1st Annual conference of the Coalition for Canadian Police Reform, June 14-16, 2022, Canada
  • Afolabi, T. (June 2022). Performing new emergence: What future exist for the Prairie theatre sector? A roundtable presented at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Conference, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
  • Afolabi, T. (22-30 May 2021). Theatre as service: A practitioner’s response to creating work from disruption. A paper presentation at the Singapore Drama Education Association [SDEA] Theatre Arts Conference 2021 - Creative Disruption: Exploring New Ground.
  • Afolabi, T. (8 July 2021). Black Lives Matter [BLM] and the Canadian Theatre and Performance Landscape. A roundtable at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research [CATR] Conference.
  •  Afolabi, T. (August 2020). Film and Cultural Diplomacy in Post-Colonial Africa: Nollywood and the Nigeria Cultural Policy. Paper presented at the Young Researchers Conference on Cultural Policy and Cultural Diplomacy, Istanbul Bilgi University Cultural Policies and Cultural Diplomacy UNESCO Chair. Istanbul, Turkey/Virtual.
  • Afolabi, T. (July 2019). Performing border within ethos of displacement: theatre in the forgotten corridor of internally displaced people in Africa. Paper presented at the International Federation of Theatre Research Conference/Congress, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • Afolabi, T., (June 2019). The ethics of interruption and circle of conversation: a study of an applied theatre project in Nigeria. Paper presented at the Canadian Association of Theatre Research Conference (CATR), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • Afolabi, T. (June 2019). Between Movement and Stasis: An Artist’s Field Reflection among Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Canada and Nigeria. Paper presented at the Tri-University Colloquium, Centre for Digital Media/University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Afolabi, T., (November 2018). The Bordered Artist: Between Migration and Stasis, Reflection from the Field. Paper presented at the Andrew W. Mellon Conference on Diversity and Inclusion, Queen College, City University of New York, United States.
  • Afolabi, T., (March 2016). Reclaiming Word and Redefining Meaning: Investigating Linguistic Relationship between Refugee and Refuge. Paper presented at the “Crisis, Migration, and Performance Symposium’, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), Ireland. Afolabi, T. (accepted, July 2019).

Orcid: 0000-0002-5905-1051