The King is dead, and tonight his Horseman must escort him to the Ancestors. As Elesin Oba dances through the closing marketplace, flirting with the women, pursued by his praise-singer and an entourage of drummers, he promises to honour the ancient Yoruba custom of ritual suicide and so accompany his ruler on the final journey. But a life so rich is hard to leave, and this is a British colony where such customs are not tolerated, no matter how sacred. Set against the conflict of indigenous and invader, Soyinka's extraordinary play uses Elesin's transition from the living to the dead to examine the essence of corruption and the power of the human will.

Original production

Original Cast:


Title Year Publisher NT Library
Death and the King's Horseman 1998 Methuen Drama No


Type Code
Article on Nigerian Colonial History BBPA/2/3/3

Union Catalogue

Link Series Reference Archive Info
Press Cuttings THM/77/2/29 V&A Theatre and Performance Collection  
Poster S.2855-1995 V&A Theatre and Performance Collection