National Arts Theatre

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Coordinates: 6°28′35″N 3°22′10″E / 6.47639°N 3.36944°E / 6.47639; 3.36944

National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos

The National Arts Theatre is the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria. The monument is located in Iganmu, Surulere, Lagos. Its construction was completed in 1976 in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977. The collection of National Gallery of Modern Nigerian Art is housed in a section of this building.


Construction of The National Arts Theatre was started by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon and completed during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo. Its exterior is shaped like a military hat. It has a 5,000-seater Main Hall with a collapsible stage, and two capacity cinema halls, all of which are equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation of 8 languages; among others.

The National Arts Theatre was designed and constructed by Bulgarian construction company (Techno Exporstroy ) Alhaji Sule Katagum was a co owner and also their Chairman. it resembles the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria (completed in 1968), the National Arts Theatre Lagos being the bigger of the two.


In 2010, President Olusegun Obasanjo announced plans to privatise the National Arts Theatre. This sparked controversy amongst Nigerian entertainers and playwrights like Wole Soyinka[1] On 30 December 2014, it was reported that the National Arts Theatre has been sold to a Dubai-based conglomerate for the sum of $40million, and that the building will be converted to a duty-free shopping mall.[2]


  1. ^ Eniwoke Ibagere. "National theatre sale angers Nigerians". BBC. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Controversy surrounds sale of National Theatre". Punch. 30 December 2014. Archived from the original on 18 December 2015.