Kenya Moves to Set up International Arts and Cultural Centre

Kenyatta attending the  the Grand Re-opening of the refurbished Kenya National Theatre this weekend

The Kenyan Government has finalized arrangements to establish an International Arts and Cultural Centre in the country, prescription President Uhuru Kenyatta has revealed.

The President said the Government’s concept for creation of the arts and cultural centre of excellence with facilities and programmes to support diverse forms of artistic endeavour was ready for implementation.

“The Jubilee Alliance pledged in its manifesto to provide strong support for Arts and Culture, website like this restore the Kenya Cultural Centre and put up an International Arts Centre, remedy ” he added.

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President Kenyatta spoke during the official opening of the refurbished Kenya National Theatre whose mordernisation was sponsored by Kenya Breweries limited (KBL) as part of Kenya@50 legacy projects this weekend.

President Kenyatta said the Kenya National Cultural Centre land that had been grabbed by private developers had been repossessed and reverted to the original use.

The President, who handed over the land’s title deed to Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, said implementation of the proposed International Arts and Cultural Centre will take off without problems.

Refurbishment of the Kenya National Theatre was kick-started by President Kenyatta in December 2013 in a move aimed at realising the promise of the constitution’s fundamental rights of showcasing the beauty of freedom through Art and Culture.

Facilities revamped by KBL at a cost of over sh. 100 million, include the main front face and entrance lounge, the auditorium, seats, the stage, sound and lighting system, the rigging and the air conditioning.

President Kenyatta said the relaunch of the facility is a demonstration of intent and the beginning of Government’s great quest to make Kenya the hub of creative and performing arts and culture.

Cultural Policy and Bill are ready while the Film policy and Music policy are being finalized as policies and legal frameworks to facilitate and support the Kenya’s artistic community, he added.

President Kenyatta said the philosophy behind the Government’s initiatives in the Arts and Culture sector is to confirm the end of the era of repression, paranoid censorship and stifling of expression in the country.

The President appreciated KBL for the company’s contribution to the project and urged more companies to emulate this exemplary trend and partner with the government for the sake of the people’s well-being.


President Kenyatta apologised to Kenyans for past official attitudes which treated creative artists with suspicion and contempt, largely born of ignorance and paralysing dogmatism and decades of neglect Kenya Cultural Centre has suffered leading to wastage of facilities.

“I must say ‘pole’ for all misunderstanding and ignorance which held back Kenya’s deserved creative dominance, denied our people the chance to experience Art and Culture at its finest, and wasted too many careers”, he said.

The President acknowledged Kenyans who did their best under difficult circumstances, with some even fleeing the country for their artistic expressions to thrive.

“We welcome two of them, Ngugi wa thiongo and Michere Mugo as our guests here today. No more Kenyans should live abroad to be the best they Can be,” President Kenyatta said.

The President described theatre as a great space where talent, innovation, vision, enterprise, freedom of thought and expression intersect, giving the society an opportunity to examine, criticise , admire and understand itself.

“Theatre gives our young performers the chance to learn the ancient craft at the feet of legends like Mama Tofi, Mama Kayai, Mzee Athman Kipanga, Mzee Pembe, Wahome Mutahi, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mzee Ojwang and many others”, the President said.

Others who spoke included Dr. Wario and KBL Managing Director Jane Karuku.


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