Tom Hebert served in the Peace Corps from 1962-1964. During his service in Nigeria, he served as a business manager for the University of Ibadan’s School of Drama. In this role, he also worked as the “advance man” for the University of Ibadan’s “Theater on Wheels” cross country tour. His duties including tour logistics, promotion, and coordinating with local civic organizations. In 1964, in commemoration of William Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, the tour group organized a traveling Shakespeare festival. Actors performed selected scenes from plays such as Richard II, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Many West Africans read Shakespeare in school and in many cases throughout the tour, actors performed in front of full capacity audiences. In the city of Calabar, not even a rainstorm shortly after the start of Julius Caesar prevented the audience from enjoying the show. Shown below is a poster advertising the March 6-7, 1964 Shakespeare festival in Ibadan, Nigeria. Tom Hebert donated this item to the Peace Corps Community Archive this past summer. Many of the details in this post are taken from Hebert’s reminiscences of his Peace Corps service.