Posted by News Express | 5 March 2015 | 3,695 times
Contrary to speculations in some quarters, the Federal Government of Nigeria has no plans to sell the National Theatre located at Iganmu in Lagos, so says Supervising Minister for Information, Chief Edem Duke.
Duke, who spoke today on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony for the new Council of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) at the APCON Secretariat, Lagos, said the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan appreciates the status of the National Theatre as an iconic national heritage. He disclosed that the administration has already finalised plans to transform the place into what he describes as an “entertainment city” that every Nigerian would be proud of.
Duke said rather than selling the place, the Goodluck Jonathan administration wants to use the vast expanses of land around the Theatre to build an entertainment capital where Nigerian players in the music, movie and other arts genres would functionally and profitably express their artistic talents.
“The National Theatre will not be sold. There are no plans to do so. The information that we are going to sell this iconic place is the handiwork of mischief makers. On the contrary, what this government plans to do is to change the status of this place into an entertainment city that will create a new vista of opportunities for Nigerian artistes to fulfill their artistic talents. Just like we did with the Centenary Village, we are going to transform the Theatre into plans Nigerians and Africans would be proud of,” he said.
The National Theatre, the minister said, will serve as a centre for, not just the preservation of the arts but also a place where established and budding artistes in the country and beyond would find the technology and facilities to profitably practice their arts, while also serving as a veritable tool for the attraction of tourists and foreign investments.
The National Arts Theatre is the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria. The monument is located in Iganmu, Lagos State. 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.
Built during the first coming of General Olusegun Obasanjo as Nigerian military Head of State, the its exterior is shaped like a military hat. It has a 5,000-seater Main Hall with a collapsible stage, and two 700-800 capacity cinema halls, all of which are equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation of 8 languages; among others.
When the government makes good its plans, the National Theatre will likely become Africa’s biggest entertainment village. A typical entertainment village will consist of amusement/theme parks, production studios for music, music videos and movies, a development that will not just boost tourism but also improve cultural content in the country’s advertising and music while also advancing the quality of movies produced in the country.
•Photo shows the National Theatre.
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