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Nollywood Dreams
Nollywood Dreams

Nollywood Dreams

New York, NY
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About Nollywood Dreams

It’s the 1990s and in Lagos, Nigeria, the NOLLYWOOD film industry is exploding and taking the world by storm. Ayamma dreams of stardom while working at her parents’ travel agency alongside her lovable and celebrity-obsessed sister Dede. When Ayamma lands an audition for a new film by Gbenga Ezie, Nigeria’s hottest director, she comes head-to-head with Gbenga’s former leading lady, Fayola. Tensions flare just as sparks start flying between Ayamma, the aspiring ingénue, and Wale, Nollywood’s biggest heartthrob, in this hilarious new play about dreaming big.

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Nollywood Dreams is a new romantic comedy play for anyone with big dreams and stars in their eyes. Get Nollywood Dreams tickets on TodayTix now.

Nollywood Dreams is a play that follows Ayamma, a young girl living and working in Lagos, Nigeria in the 1990s. She has a job at her parents’ travel agency, but what she really wants is to be a star in the Nollywood film industry, which is booming around her. One day, she gets the chance of a lifetime to audition for a major Nigerian director. But she quickly becomes entangled in two relationships that complicate her smooth path to stardom: a rivalry with the director’s usual leading lady, and a budding romance with the industry’s most famous leading man.

Jocelyn Bioh mounted her first fully-produced play, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, at MCC Theater in 2017, gaining multiple accolades including the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. Now, with the world premiere of Nollywood Dreams Off-Broadway, Bioh returns to MCC once more. Led by director Saheem Ali, the creative team includes lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer Palmer Hefferan, set designer Arnulfo Maldonado, costume designer Dede Ayite, and projection designer Alex Basco Koch. Get tickets to Nollywood Dreams in New York on TodayTix.

What to Watch For

  • The term “Nollywood” is a portmanteau of “Nigeria” and “Hollywood,” first coined in a 2002 New York Times article. The word has sparked debate as to what kinds of films count as “Nollywood” films. Besides referring to films shot, produced, and distributed in Nigeria, the term has also been applied to Ghanian English-language cinema produced or distributed by Nigerian companies, as well as films made in other African countries with a Nigerian audience in mind.
  • The Nollywood Dreams play was included on the 2016 Kilroys’ List, an annual recognition of exceptional plays by non-male playwrights. The year before, another of Bioh’s plays, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, also made the list. Both these shows received the honor before they were even fully produced.
  • Bioh’s work often deals with pressing social issues, especially surrounding race, through comedy — a departure from many stories about Black suffering. In an interview with The New York Times, she said that one literary manager liked Nollywood Dreams but “couldn’t understand why all the characters were so happy.” Bioh said she prefers to write about “funny and wild and silly” characters that remind her of her relatives in Ghana, rather than tell sad stories.
  • It takes two! Nollywood Dreams is the second of three collaborations between Bioh and director Saheem Ali within a year. He directed the Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives in summer 2021, which Bioh adapted, and is set to direct a new musical called Goddess by Bioh and Michael Thurber in California in spring 2022.
  • Costume designer Dede Ayite’s work has been seen in multiple recent Broadway productions including A Soldier’s Play, Slave Play, American Son, and Children of a Lesser God.
Start date

October 21st, 2021

End date

November 28th, 2021




The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space


The formative and explosive era of Nigeria’s film industry, in the nineteen-nineties, is the setting for this new romantic comedy by Jocelyn BiohIt.


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