Let’s talk theatre, theatre and some more theatre;
I’m an arts fanatic and in a way I’m proud of it. Today with a little help from fellow fanatics I’ll tell all I can about the finest theatres in the lovely heart of the pearl of Africa.
1. THE NATIONAL THEATRE, DEWINTON ROAD.
This is the most reliable arts headquarters in Kampala, and has been that way for the last 50 or so years. We don’t call it the National theatre for lack of no concrete reason; this fine place boasts of lots of rehearsal space, dance studios, a recording studio, professional theatre lighting and of course the trump doors.
The place has something artistic happening almost every single day of the week, check this:
Mondays host THE JAM SESSION at MUSICIANS’ CLUB ’89 and entry is free of charge.
Tuesdays are best spent at the DANCE FLOOR where PERCUSSION DISCUSSION blesses the night. Entry is at sh.3,000
Thursday is all about hearty laughs; its COMEDY NIGHT and it all takes place in THE UPPER GARDENS and is run by THE THEATRE FACTORY. Entry is sh.5,000
There are drama productions on most weekends and entrance to the auditorium averages sh.10,000.
The auditorium sits about 330 people.
Besides art, the national theatre gardens are also popular with wedding receptions.
2. DIDI-I THETRE AND AUDITORIUM, KANSANGA
This by far the finest of the fine theatres in Kampala but the least talked about, maybe it’s because the clientele is majorly of Indian origin and most of the shows are children’s shows. The entry also averages over sh.10,000
This fine jewel boasts of the largest auditorium in the country, of about 1,355.It also contains folding seats which are really comfortable and allow enough leg space. But the shine in this jewel is the sound system which provides world class theatre sound.
The auditorium also slants and this allows even the patrons on the last seats to have a proper and comfortable view of the stage, plus the air conditioning is brilliant.
Definitely the type of theatre we all wish we had in our backyards.
3. NDERE THEATRE, BUTIKIRWA, KISAASI ROAD
Ask me about a place where you can catch finely roasted maize and cassava during a theatrical performance and I’ll tell you NDERE CENTRE.
This place is not all about theatre but culture as well; actually an entrance sign reads HOME OF CULTURES. It also boasts of the only amphitheatre in the country and an auditorium that hosts the shows incase of rain.
Its events table reads something like this:
Wednesdays are spent with the NDERE TROUPE members who teach the patrons all about traditional meals (preparation and serving), there’s also plenty of jazz music. Entry is at sh.10,000
Sunday family show is the pride of NDERE CENTRE; there are plenty of traditional performances and games for the young ones and those young at heart. Entry is at sh.10,000
The end of the month hosts the KWETU INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL.
NDERE CENTRE is also a great venue for private functions.
3. BAT VALLEY THEATRE,BOMBO ROAD
Whenever I think about this place I see bats and I have a phobia for bats, (bat-o-phobia?)..
It hosts a number of drama groups and musicians but is home to the AFRI-TALENT DRAMA GROUP.
This here is a theatre that grows, a number of radical changes have taken place in it but the most prominent, I’m told is all about the new auditorium seats, which are never quite enough. In case you don’t get a chance to get one of these, you have to make do with the hard back benches.
Bat valley theatre remains busy all week because of the attached bar; RED NITE PUB. The finest day in the pub is the very popular embagga y’embaata. Entrance is sh.2,000
Drama is weekend business and the place closes down after midnight.
5.THEATRE LA BONITA,COLVILLE STREET
This the new kid on the block when it comes to the Kampala theatres, and home to THE EBONIES.
Only two years young but attracting massive audiences, LA BONITA owes all these to positive public hype and its central location. It sits about 800 fans but the corridor becomes part of the theatre during premier shows (this shows how popular it is).
It also provides a full package since it has an attached café, bar and restaurant.
Entrance is sh.10,000(general), sh.15,000(VIP) and sh.25,000(royal circle).
The biggest let down is the very bad lighting.
These five are the best and most happening of the Kampala theatres,the opinions in here are strictly mine and are subject to criticism.
Go to a theatre today and support local art.