National Arts Theatre Iganmu: Things You Did Not Know

The National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, is a national monument in Nigeria. The entire surroundings on which the edifice sits spans an area of about 23,000 square metres, while the building itself stands at about 31 metres above the ground.

National Arts Theatre Iganmu: Things You Did Not Know

The National Arts Theatre is an architectural masterpiece and cultural landmark, located in the central area of Lagos, sitting in between the Island and the Mainland of the State. This magnificent edifice is one of the few national properties in the country that has been preserved and properly taken care of by the Federal Government, still maintaining most of its unique features since its establishment several years ago.

The National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, while not a museum, is a gallery of arts which provides an avenue for anyone who appreciates arts and artworks to learn a lot while having fun in its lush environment. Established in 1976, some years after the Nigerian Civil War, under the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon and completed by General Olusegun Obasanjo, the National Theatre has continued to preserve modern art, while progressively inviting more recent works by new artists.

Some of the main attractions of the National Theatre complex are the interior and exterior design, the building itself which is shaped like a military hat, after the likeness of General Gowon’s hat, the 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 make the landscape a beauty to behold.


The National Theatre, Iganmu, located in the Surulere area of Lagos was built in 1976 in preparation for The Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977. The contract for its construction was awarded on April 24, 1973, under the regime of former head of state, Yakubu Gowon. General Olusegun Obasanjo successfully completed the building of the theatre which was inspired by the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria, the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu being the bigger of the two upon completion. The building was designed and constructed by Bulgarian construction company, Techno Exporstroy, little wonder it resembles its Bulgarian counterpart but is much bigger.


The best time to visit the National theatre is anytime from the official working hours of the day and if you want to see the gallery and admire the artworks in there, it is just ₦20 per person. Price is subject to change. If however, you want to admire the beautiful surroundings and connect with nature, the compound is open to you in the day for as long as you wish to stay, everyday, all year round.

It is not advisable for you to extend your stay late at night over there due to security reasons. Holiday periods are one of the best times to go and relax at the Theatre and have fun with family and friends, and you can enjoy cinema shows as well with your loved ones if there are any as at the time of your visit. The National Theatre, Lagos is currently under renovation by the Buhari administration, with Cappa & D’Alberto, one of the top construction companies in Nigeria overseeing the project.


Locating the National Theatre is very easy. If you are coming from anywhere in Lagos, the main bus stop to locate is Costain. Once you get to Costain, the Theatre should be visible to you, just walk in through the gates and enjoy your stay.


Things to do at the National Theatre, Iganmu include the following:

  • Explore the different collections of outstanding art works by fantastic artists on display in the gallery
  • Take amazing photos with beautiful backgrounds in the lush surroundings of the Theatre
  • Shoot video clips and scenes and have photoshoots if you so desire
  • Enjoy picnics with your loved ones in the beautiful and peaceful environment, to mention but a few.


Here are some fun facts about the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos:

  • The Theatre is designed in the shape of a military hat
  • The wall carvings of the Theatre and decor are works of art
  • It is surrounded by a fascinating exterior made up of lawns, lakes, shrubs, trees, sculptures, etc.
  • It is a venue for various musical and performing art concerts.
  • It is educative for the children, being a place of history and an architectural masterpiece.
  • Every day, different artists and curators visit the gallery to explore and showcase artworks, giving you the opportunity to expand your knowledge of arts.

Ezeh Emmanuella

Ezeh Emmanuella is an information enthusiast and the Editor of Nigerian Search Guide. She loves to answer search queries on everything Nigeria. She is also the brain behind Ellacious Designs, an emerging fashion brand in Nigeria today.

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2 Responses

  1. Awesome says:

    Lovely write up. Makes me wanna visit the theatre

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