From left Chief Emeka Ojukwu, the Ooni of Ife Oba Sijuwade, Chief H.I.D Awolowo, Alhaji Maitama Sule and Dr Tokunbo Dosunmu. 1990s

William Warfield in Nigeria. 1956

In 1956 ‪William Warfield‬ came to Nigeria and performed in Ibadan he was famous for his role as Joe in the 1951 Hollywood Technicolor film version, Show Boat.

He came to Nigeria as an envoy of the Cultural Exchange and Development Programme set up by the State Department.

“We made sure that there were many from the neighbouring community for example we had a whole block of youngsters from various schools when I was in Ibadan, Nigeria.

It was very interesting to note their reactions because sometimes they responded emotionally to what was going on in a performance. Their applause was spontaneous, it could come right in the middle of a song if they were moved.

I was singing a little German piece that was a tongue twister – Karl Lowe’s Hochzeitleid and they started saying “ooh! ooh! ooh! all through the song…and then when I was finished there was a thunderous applause.

They were not the typical audience”

Photo: PR Photo 1956

Photo: Lagos Nigeria 1956

Video: William Warfield as Joe in the film Show Boat singing Ol’ Man River