Mali is a country of great culture, where traditional values are topical. Radio, television and digital media are widely available but traditional forms of communication are still used. Theatre dates back to the colonial period, when village communities engaged in a form of popular theatre that was played outdoors and was called Koteba or Nyogolon according to the zones. Music and dance are popular, especially during baptism and wedding ceremonies or religious holidays. Tales are also used to educate and entertain children. Traditional communication practices such as the use of the town crier service to pass information by tam-tam or tambourines, persist in rural areas and in the periphery of the capital.
The art sector has been professionalised with the opening of training institutions including the Institut National des Arts de Bamako (National Institute of Arts - INA) and the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasséké Kouyaté (Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) and the advent of cultural operators like Alioune Ifra N'diaye, promoter of the theatre ensemble BlonBa. Theatre occupies the front of the country’s cultural scene, and theatrical consumption is shared equally between individuals, families and groups. Rates of consumption depend on the interest of the spectators and also on the environment. The main audiences are students, middle managers and women. Paid shows are common in rural areas, where price plays an important role in the decision to purchase tickets. There is no dedicated theatre infrastructure in Mali but multidisciplinary facilities. Music consumption is dominated by the purchase of CDs or audio cassettes and online downloads. The largest consumers are students, liberal professions, expatriates and tourists. Dance shows are free, and dance professionals do not have a strong connection to their audience. The average consumer is still not ready to spend in order to attend a dance performance. People generally do so for their desire to dance, for the atmosphere of the venue or for the curiosity to discover a given dance.