The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives | Arcola Theatre

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7 June–21 July 2018

Arcola Theatre and The Elufowoju jr Ensemble

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

by Lola Shoneyin

Directed by Femi Elufowoju, jr

★★★★★ “Nothing short of spectacular” — The Guardian

★★★★ The Stage   ★★★★ WhatsOnStage   ★★★★ Evening Standard

“Men are like yam, you cut them how you like.”

Baba Segi has three wives, seven children, and a mansion filled with riches. But now he has his eyes on Bolanle, a young university graduate wise to life’s misfortunes. When Bolanle responds to Baba Segi’s advances, she unwittingly uncovers a secret which threatens to rock his patriarchal household to the core.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is a scandalous, engrossing tale of sexual politics and family strife in modern-day Nigeria. Lola Shoneyin’s bestselling novel bursts on to the stage in a vivid adaptation by Caine Award-winning playwright Rotimi Babatunde.

Femi Elufowoju, jr directs a multi-talented West African ensemble in the UK premiere production, featuring live Yoruba music, songs and dance.

A co-production by Arcola Theatre and The Elufowoju, jr Ensemble

Post-show events

Lola Shoneyin Q&A

Friday 29 June, after 7.30pm performance

Join director Femi Elufowoju, jr in a one-off event discussing the scandalous story and its themes with Lola Shoneyin, author of the original novel. This is a unique opportunity to listen to the leading Nigerian novelist and poet talking about her work, as well as answering your questions and signing copies of the playtext and novel.

Free for all ticket-holders on 29 June performance.

Ladies Night

+ Women, Sex and Sexuality in Africa panel

Tuesday 17 July, panel after 7.30pm performance

A night for women (and brave men too) to come together to watch Lola Shoneyin’s fun and fearless novel on stage, followed by a free post-show event shining a spotlight on gender equality and female empowerment.

Women, Sex and Sexuality in Africa is a panel discussion chaired by cast member Jumoké Fashola (host of BBC Radio 3’s J to Z & BBC Radio London’s Sunday Breakfast Show ‘Inspirit’). Joined by Eliza Anyangwe (writer & founder of The Nzinga Effect), Kelechi Okafor (actor, dance innovator & social commentator) and Tobi Kyeremateng (theatre, poetry and festival producer), this is set to be a truly unique evening shedding light on cultural taboos around sex and sexuality for women in Africa, and looking closer at the power of the African feminist.

Free for all ticket-holders for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.

★★★★★ The play’s energy never dips and the actors, doubling up repeatedly in their roles, give nuanced, charismatic performances. The effect is nothing short of spectacular
—The Guardian
★★★★★ An unwavering spirit of playfulness that stands out above all else in this splendid production
—London Student
★★★★★ There is a sense of joy and playfulness to the whole production ... well-crafted, well-executed by a strong cast, and not to be missed
—Spy In The Stalls
★★★★★ This is going to be one of the plays of the summer – hot, hot, hot
★★★★½ Belly-achingly funny ... This is theatre with a difference, with a spirit, which will open your eyes and worldview.
—Theatre Box
★★★★ Adapted deftly by Rotimi Babatunde from Lola Shoneyin’s bestselling novel ... an acutely funny piece of theatre
—The Stage
★★★★ Exuberantly entertaining ... enjoyably clamorous and unflinchingly serious
—Evening Standard
★★★★ Director Femi Elufowoju Jr conjures a vibrant, musical, lyrical production ... fresh, entertaining and exuberant
★★★★ Joyous and enchanting ... from the moment the play starts it’s completely captivating
—Love London Love Culture
★★★★ An emotional and jubilant production
★★★★ With remarkable direction by Elufowoju Jr, the performances are excellent ... an exceptionally entertaining, funny, compelling and thought-provoking piece
—The Upcoming
★★★★ Clever storytelling ... with music, a lively cast and a few simple props the story of Baba Segi and his four wives in modern Nigeria is taken apart, dissected and explored.
An example of artistic diversity that’s much more than skin deep.
  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Idil Sukan

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright

  • Credit: Ali Wright


Layo-Christina Akinlude

Iya Femi / Ensemble

Ayan De First

Tunde / Ensemble

Marcy Dolapo Oni

Bolanle / Ensemble

Ayo-Dele Edwards

Mama Bolanle / Ensemble

Jumoké Fashola

Iya Segi / Ensemble

Usifu Jalloh

Taju / Ensemble

Patrice Naiambana

Baba Segi / Ensemble

Tania Nwachukwu

Segi / Ensemble

Christina Oshunniyi

Iya Tope / Ensemble

Diana Yekinni

Nurse / Ensemble


Lola Shoneyin


Femi Elufowoju, jr

Stage Adaptation

Rotimi Babatunde



Music Director

Femi Elufowoju, jr

Choral Arranger

Ayo-Dele Edwards


Kemi Durosinmi

Lighting Designer

Ryan Joseph Stafford

Costume Supervisor

Shola Ajayi

Stage Manager

Christie DuBois

Assistant Stage Manager

Becca Mitchell

Production Manager

Ben Karakashian

Original Composer & Music Director

Oyebade Dosunmu

Original Choreographer

Uche Onah
Best £26 (£22 previews)
Standard £22 (£19 previews)
Value £15
Restricted £12

Standard tickets are £12 or less with Arcola Passport.

Monday - Saturday, 7.30pm
All Saturdays and Wed 18 July, 3pm matinee


  • Students / 26 and under - 20% off Standard seats, or join Young Arcola for free to book Value seats at £10
  • 65 and over - 20% off Standard seats on Mon–Wed evenings and all matinee performances
  • People in receipt of disability benefits - free companion with full-price Standard seat or 20% off Standard seat
  • People in receipt of unemployment benefits - Value seats at £10 or 20% off Standard seats
  • Theatre union members - 10% off Standard seats
  • School and college groups (10+) - Best available seats at £12 for Mon–Wed evenings and Wed matinees, one free teacher per 10 students
  • Groups (10+) - eleventh ticket free

    Pay What You Can Tuesdays – limited allocation of tickets available in person, each Tuesday from 6pm. More info »

    Running time: 130 minutes approximately (including interval).

  • This production contains:
    Strong language
    Scenes of a sexual nature
    Loud noises
    Depiction of sexual violence

    Suitable for 18+

    Press enquiries: Chloe Nelkin —

    24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL
    020 7503 1646

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    Arcola Theatre Production Company is a registered charity no.1108613. Registered as a company limited by guarantee in England no.5242988. Registered Office: 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL.

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