The Duchess of Malfi (Iyalode of Eti)

The Duchess of Malfi (Iyalode of Eti) by Debo Oluwatuminu


A unique West African transposition of one of the greatest dramas ever written, John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.

The recently widowed Iyalode, a young, beautiful chief longs to marry her low-born lover, Oguntade. Her brothers vehemently forbid it, but Iyalode secretly marries and gives birth. If the brothers discover the deceit, a trail or torture, torment, betrayal and murder could follow…


Iyalode of Eti is a theatre event replete with music, poetry, dance and movement, transposing the Duchess of Malfi’s original setting to pre-colonial Yoruba land with its many sights, sounds and colours. The play’s themes – abuse of power, corruption, the status of women, gender equality, family, honour and revenge are still very relevant to today’s society.


Conceived and directed by Mojsola Kareem, this reinvention of a classic – sets the action in pre-colonial Yoruba land in West Africa and transforms the Jacobean drama of the original into an enchanting, lyrical theatrical experience that is fresh, dynamic and surprising. An English play is retold as an African mystical fable riddled with rituals, hauntings, double-crossings, playful levity and potent tragedy.

The recently widowed Iyalode longs to marry her lover Oguntade. But her scheming and controlling brothers forbid their union. When Iyalode secretly marries Oguntade, their love and lives are threatened. IYALODE OF ETI is a story of how a woman asserts her strength and fights for her heart in a land ruled by men.


  • Directed by

    Mojisola Kareem

  • Writer

    Debo Oluwatuminu

  • Designer

    Emma Williams

  • Costume Designer

    Adesola Lajuwomi

  • Lighting Designer

    Chris Speight

  • Sound Designer

    Rob Hart

  • Musical Director

    Sola Akingbola

  • Musicians

    Sola Akingbola and Ayan De First

  • Choreographers

    Lola Adodo and Andile Sotiya

  • Dramaturgy

    Moji Kareem.

  • Production Manager/Associate Producer

    Timothy Trimingham Lee.

  • Company Stage Manager

    Helen Fagelman.

  • Audience Development

    Odun Obebe and Rheima Ibrahim-Robinson.

  • Rehearsal Photography

    Peter Corkhill.

  • Trailer Direction and Music

    Abbie Lucas and Rob Hart.



Lola Adodo as Adunni/Figure 1 (Spirit Being),
Sola Akingbola as Akanbi,
Kehinde Bankole as Iyalode ,
Ayan De First as Adekunle/Baba Ifa/Oriyomi,
Patrick Diabuah as Oguntade,
Ayo-Dele Edwards as Labake,
Tunde Euba as Oluawo,
Tunji Falana as Esubiyi,
Golda John as Osunkemi,
Patrice Naiambana as Oloye Olorogun,
Travis Robinson as Figure 2 (Spirit Being)/Egungun,