The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

The Production

Originally produced as a full scale production in Nigeria in 2013 and subsequently workshop produced in 2015 for the UK stage at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, this music theatre adaptation by Rotimi Babatunde of one of Africa’s most popular contemporary novels written by Lola Shoneyin was given its British premiere in 2018 at the ground-breaking Arcola theatre.

The scandalous new play featuring original contemporary live Yoruba music, songs and dance was the company’s first major production in the UK.

Creative Team, London 2018

Author Lola Shoneyin

Script Adaptor Rotimi Babatunde

Director and Music Director Femi Elufowoju jr

Choral Arranger Ayo-Dele Edwards

Designer ULTZ

Choreographer Kemi Durosinmi

Lighting Designer Ryan Joseph Stafford

Costume Supervisor Shola Ajayi

Deputy Stage Manager Christie DuBois

Assistant Stage Manager Becca Mitchell

Production Manager Ben Karakashian

Original Composer and Music Director Oyebade Dosunmu

Original Choreographer Uche Onah

Cast, London 2018

Layo-Christina Akinlude Iya Femi

Ayan De First Tunde

Marcy Dolapo Oni Bolanle

Ayo-Dele Edwards Mama Bolanle

Jumoké Fashola Iya Segi

Usifu Jalloh Taju

Patrice Naiambana Baba Segi

Tania Nwachukwu Segi

Christina Oshunniyi Iya Tope

Diana Yekinni Nurse

All cast members also performed as Ensemble

Cast, Lagos 2018

Presented as part of the Ake Arts and Book Festival, Lagos, Nigeria October 2018

Martins Iwuagwu

Mawuyon Ogun

Omonorr Somolu

Christina Oshunniyi (UK)

Uzor Osimkpa

Uche Chika Elumelu       

Toritseju Ejoh

Joshua Akinola

Rita Edward

Ayo-Dele Edwards (UK)

Anthony Offiong

Julius Obende

Habeeb ‘Awoko’ Ayodeji

Blessing Kacoman Idireri

Director Femi Elufowoju jr

Choreographer Uche Onah

Choral Consultant Deborah Ohiri

Cast, R&D London 2015

Abridged Workshop Presentation, Theatre Royal Stratford East, December 2015

Antonia Okonma

Ayo-Dele Edwards

Joseph Adelakun

Marcy Dolapo Oni

Olufunmilola Opeyemi

Patrice Naiambana

Richard Babatunde Baker

Tito Fagbenle

Yetunde Oduwole

Sola Akingbola

Director Femi Elufowoju jr

Cast, Abeokuta 2013

Original Production, Ake Arts and Book Festival, Abeokuta, Nigeria, November 2013

Martins Iwuagwe

Priye George

Rita Edward

Najite Dede

Uzor Osimkpa

Gabriel Ojini

Sola Onayiga

Joshua Akinola

Segun Dada

Osita Uzowuru

Habeeb Ayodeji              

Adesua Etomi

Diana Yeninni

Deborah Ohiri

Chineme Prince

Awele Dekpe

Lanre Adesoye

Ayanfemi Opebiyi

Produced by Jols & Joms in association with Elufowoju Jr Ensemble

Director Femi Elufowoju jr

Plot & Themes

Our story is set in Nigeria and involves an ambitious polygamous husband (Baba Segi), his four wives, an extraordinary household of servants and beguiling children. The tale is seen as a commentary on the sanctity of marriage, in which the bewildering lifestyle of the central character (a prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, the patriarch of a large household) leads to an unexpected, devastating consequence. It is a stirring tale of men and women, mothers and children, servitude and independence, The play sought to illuminate the common threads that connect the experiences of all women: the hardships they bear, their struggle to define themselves, and their fierce desire to protect those they love.

The production’s multiple themes prevalent in Nigeria include status of women, slave labour, power, allegiance, education, gender equality, ambition, murder, tolerance and understanding. The Nigerian setting served as a microcosm of contemporary Britain as well as the world at large.


The Guardian ★★★★★

The Evening Standard ★★★

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

The Stage ★★★★

“★★★★★ 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

“★★★★ 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.”



In 2019 a new dramatisation of The Secret Lives of Babi Segi’s Wives was created by Elufowoju jr for BBC Radio Drama. It was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November of the same year.

In 2020, Netflix announced a major partnership with Nigerian television and film producer Mo Abudu in which her production company Ebony Life will spearhead the on-screen adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s best-selling debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.