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Death and The King's Horseman

By Wole Soyinka

Year staged: 1990

Theatre Company: Royal Exchange Theatre; 1976-

Staged in: Royal Exchange Theatre

Cast Size: 12


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.

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Death and The King's Horseman

Publisher: Methuen Drama

Year published: 1998

Additional Materials

Link to Press Cuttings

Press Cuttings

Ref: THM/77/2/29

V&A Theatre and Performance Collection

Link to Poster


Ref: S.2855-1995

V&A Theatre and Performance Collection

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