An Inside Look at The National Theatre


Last updated on April 4th, 2018 at 08:27 am

Address:  Iganmu Rd, Lagos,  Nigeria.
Open Hours: 24/7
Tel: 07080700936 

Covering an area of about 23,000 square meters and standing well over 31 meters tall, The National Theatre fills you with a sense of awe and respect. An architectural masterpiece and cultural landmark, the edifice is one of the few properties of the country that has stood the test of time. Being home to everything art, the National Theatre provides an avenue for you to learn a lot more about art while having fun in its lush environment.

Constructed in 1976 by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon and completely by General Olusegun Obasanjo, the National Theatre has continued to house ancient art, while progressively inviting modern works by new artists. One major dynamics of the theatre is its fascinating interior and exterior design. With its hat-like shape, the complex has a 5,000 seater hall with a collapsible stage and two capacity cinema halls, surrounded by an exterior consisting of sculptures, trees, wall carvings, lawns, lakes and lush vegetation to mention a few.

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History of The National Theatre

The design for the existing National Theatre in Lagos was taken from the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria. The contract for its construction was signed on April 24, 1973, during Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s regime with the Bulgarian Construction Company called Technoexportsroy, the main constructors for the building of the complex. Apart from providing a befitting venue for the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77) which Nigeria successfully hosted in January/February 1977 and for which the National Theatre provided more than adequate venues.

When is the Best Time to Visit The National Theatre?

  • Being a focal point of national art and worldwide tourism, the National Theatre is busy practically all year. However, planning a visit during the holidays when the weather is more subtle is advisable in order to enable you to appreciate the environment better.
  • Due to its high significance in the world of art, the theatre is busy most of the time. Therefore, it’s wise to visit quite early in the day so as to explore the grounds to your satisfaction.

How to Get to The National Theatre

There are taxis on the mainland that can take you to the gallery which is situated on the island. From the mainland, a drive there takes about 45minutes. However, if you are en-route by bus; take a bus to Oshodi, from there take another to Costain and alight at Orile-Iganmu.

Things to do at The National Theatre

  1. Explore the different collections of outstanding art on display in the exhibition room.
  2. Take pictures with the outstanding backgrounds and carvings.
  3. Shoot video scenes and have photoshoot sessions.
  4. Have a picnic with family and friends on the surrounding lawns

How Much Will Your Visit to National Theatre cost?

Admittance into the gallery is free. However, other costs may arise at the venue.

Fun Facts about The National

  • The theatre’s design is shaped like a military hat, and the wall carvings and décor are also works of art
  • Surrounded by a fascinating exterior made up of lawns, lakes, shrubs, trees, sculptures and so on
  • It’s a venue for different musical and performing art concerts.
  • It is educative for the children and it is a place of history and an architectural masterpiece.
  • Every day, different artists and curators visit the museum to explore and showcase art, giving you the opportunity to link up and broaden your knowledge of art.

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People Who Like National Theatre Also Like…

Some other places you can check out Include:

Terra Kulture

Address: 1376 Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island, Lagos
Open hours: 9:30AM – 10:00PM

The internationally acclaimed art house, Terra Kulture is the home of contemporary visual and theatre arts in Nigeria. It stands as one of only 2 art auction houses in Nigeria, with a collection of over a thousand art pieces from across the country. The Terra Kulture building is home to a restaurant, a craft shop, a library, a language school and theatre and its central feature; the art gallery.

The National Museum

Address: Awolowo Rd (opposite Muson Centre), Onikan, Lagos Island
Open hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Another gallery dedicated to traditional symbols of power contains carved ivory and a royal host of crowns. The museum houses the bullet-riddled car the country’s former Head of State – late General Murtala Mohammed – was assassinated in 1976.

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