The Trials of Brother Jero was first published in 1964. Its original performance was organized by Farris-Belgrave Productions and held at the Greenwich Mews Theatre in New York City in 1967. Today it is known as one of Soyinka’s most popular plays.
The play mocks the effects of the quick spread of Christianity across Africa. Soyinka takes issue with a common figure of the time, the phony preacher who proselytizes by deceiving his followers. Many of these preachers did not have churches of their own and so preached in public spaces, as does Brother Jero. The play thus exposes the contradictions in blind faith and following, while also drawing attention through satire to many of the social and political imbalances of Nigeria in the early 1960s.
In 1966 Soyinka published another play featuring Brother Jero, called Jero's Metamorphosis.