The Nigeria National Theatre: Iconic Landmark in Lagos State
The Nigerian National Theatre is an architectural masterpiece and a cultural landmark located at Iganmu, in the heart of Lagos State. This Landmark is embodied with so much history, being the first place Nigeria celebrated the biggest Tourism event, Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977 (FESTAC77). This historical building was constructed in 1976 but the contract for its construction was signed on April 24, 1973 during Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s regime with the Bulgarian Construction Company called “Technoexportsroy”. It was formally opened by the then Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, on September 30, 1975, five month before Festac77. The National Arts Theatre has since then been the host place for a number of national and international activities, including musical concerts, dramas, dances, film shows, symposia, exhibitions, workshops and event sports.
This theater is generally considered as one of the prime stage in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a multi-purpose national monument for the preservation, presentation and promotion of Nigerian arts and culture. The purpose for its construction was to facilitate the preservation and promotion of Arts and Culture in Nigeria so as to provide a centre for a Black African Festival of Arts and Culture and a home for the National Troupe. The complex is to be a rallying point for artistes within and outside Nigeria, wishing to share a Nigerian experience.
Description of the theater
The National Theater complex offers diverse venues, facilities and innovation for all kinds of programmes and activities.
• There are four main entrances to the complex, officially designated “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”.
• Entrance “A “is the V. I. P. Entrance that bears the Nigerian Coat of Arms.
• Entrance “B” is the main entrance that leads to the general lobby and administrative wing of the complex.
• Entrances “B’ and “D” lead to all six halls, massive lobbies, restaurants and bars.
The Main Halls
This huge hall seats 5,000 people and consists of a collapsible stage and an auditorium. When un proscenium the hall has a capacity for 3,500 seats. The hall is equipped with a cinema screen and 16mm and 35mm film projectors. The stage has three rows of curtain, and a backdrop and a double cyclorama for creating silhouette effects. It is easily amenable to any director concepts. It is ideal for musical concerts, drama, film shows, etc. Such is the versatility of this huge hall that it also handles in door sporting activities like table tennis, boxing and wrestling.
Cinema Halls 1&2:
Each of these halls has a capacity for 700 seats and is equipped with standard fixed screen for film shows. Each cinema hall has standard proscenium stage facilities, which include artistes’ dressing room and modern lighting equipment with appropriate effects. The cinema halls are equally excellent for dance, drama, musical shows, meetings, conferences, seminars etc.
The Conference/Banquet Hall:
Specially designed and equipped for conferences and banquets of international standard, it has a capacity for 1,500 seats and state-of-the-art audio equipment capable of interpreting eight languages simultaneously. Other facilities include the proscenium stage and the excellent lighting facilities for drama, music, dance, cocktails, luncheon, wedding reception and meetings.
Each of the two halls has a capacity for 1,500 seats and 1830 square meter in size. Each hall also contains lighting and sound facilities. They are capable of accommodating large corporate exhibition. One of the halls also has facilities for firm shows and stage productions.
Press Hall & Bar:
This hall has the capacity to seat between 300 – 400 persons, which is suitable for press conference, mini receptions etc.
V. I. P. Lounge: Located at Entrance A, the VIP Lounge consists of a reception area and main lounge. It is ideal for 500 seats.
The Roof Garden: This area is suitable for open air get-togethers and provides an aerial view of a large part of Lagos.
The theatre also has a car park capable of holding 250 cars, and car ramps at each entrance. The theatre also provides base for facilities and services such as a post office, four restaurants, bars and a health clinic. Aside from the main building, there is up to 23,000sqm of land surrounding the NT.
The main building requires significant investment (roofing, air condition, cinemas, etc) to make it a top-range entertainment centres.
National Theater Igummu