The National Theatre is an architectural masterpiece and a cultural landmark located at Iganmu, in the heart of Lagos. It is easily accessible from every corner of the city. Covering an area of about 23,000 square meters and standing well over 31 meters tall, the multipurpose National Theatre was established for the preservation, presentation and promotion of Arts and Culture in Nigeria.
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, the complex is to be a rallying point for both Nigeria and international artistes wishing to share experience with their Nigerian counterparts.
Even though it had been in use since late 1975 it was formally opened by the then Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo on September 30, 1976, five months before FESTAC 77. Since then it has hosted a good number of international music concerts, dramas, film shows, symposia, exhibitions, conventions, workshops and even sports.
Between 1975, and July 2009, the National Theatre has been managed by six successive Administrators. In August 2009, a new General Manager assumed the headship of the National Theatre Management with a new vision.