Hubert Ogunde pioneered the modern travelling theatre in Nigeria in the 1940s. He was a playwright, actor, musician and theatre director. The performing troupe in the modern theatre was ran as family business. The director of the troupe was the head of the family and other family members made up to 80% of the troupe members.
His travelling company survived due to its ability to pull a crowd to its shows. The business operation was kept simple and self-sufficient; often traveling with their own electricity generating sets and stage.
Family members were incorporated into various aspects of the business. For example, he took two of his wives abroad where they were trained on how to operate the projector. Whenever films are to be shown, his wives and daughters would set-up the projector.
In his dealings with customers, Ogunde insisted on controlling his box-office, ensuring no outsider influence. The senior wife would stand at the gate to collect the money. This method helped him prevent being cheated by cinema houses. Other sources of revenue for the organisation were through the sales of refreshments during film shows – also handled by family members.
Though Ogunde viewed himself as an artist and not a businessman, his business acumen is undeniably strong, his shrewdness is not unusual for an Ijebu businessman.
Categories: Business Strategy