The Kenya Cultural Centre

Kenya Cultural Centre incorporating Kenya National Theatre (KCC-NT) is a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency established by the Kenya Cultural Centre Act CAP 218 and mandated to provide a Centre for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of Kenya and to provide for the performance of music, drama and dancing, for the exhibition of works of art and craft and the holding of meetings for discussion of matters of literary, historical, scientific or educational interest or importance, and connected purposes as may be approved by the Governing Council. KCC-NT is the nation’s oldest state cultural institution and is currently administered under the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.


To be a distinguished international Centre for cultural reference, creative expression and cultural contribution to the Kenyan economy.


To establish the Kenya Cultural Centre as the national centre for safeguarding, promoting and developing culture.


Good Governance, including professionalism
Uprightness, including transparency and accountability

Our Products

The Kenya Cultural Centre hosts four fully equipped spaces for artistic, cultural and corporate shows and events. Convenient amenities include ample parking and open scenic grounds. The Kenya National Theatre (Main Auditorium), Ukumbi Mdogo, Cheche Gallery and the Dance Studio are vibrant all-year-round with a myriad of activities.

Our Programs

We pride ourselves in the artistically enriching programs curated for all artists in the country across a variety of art disciplines.

EST 1952

Our History

The Kenya Cultural Centre has a great history of promoting and conserving art and culture running back to 1952. Over the years, it has hosted hundreds of artistic and cultural events making it the premier location for championing culture and heritage in the region.



The idea of a national theatre was conceptualised in 1949 when a steering committee made up of British and Indian settlers requested the colonial government to set up a venue where they could express themselves in drama, music and art.


Act of Parliament

Construction was completed and the centre incorporated under an Act of Parliament (Cap 218 of 1951). The building comprised a 450-seater hall, an orchestra pit, curtained stage and a balcony with a bar and restaurant where patrons could enjoy refreshments during breaks and after performances.

View Act of Parliament

Official Opening

The Centre was officially opened for use. This marked the beginning of theatrical performances at the Kenya National Theatre.


KNT in 1957. PHOTO: Vintage East Africa


National Schools Drama Festival

The Kenya Cultural Centre hosted the inaugural National Schools Drama Festival, which was modelled on the British drama festival for higher education. It comprised expatriate teachers, inspectors and staff of the British Council.



The first local play to win the National Drama Festival at KNT was a phenomenal moment in 1971. The production was “Olkirkenyi”, by students of Olkejuado Secondary School.


I Will Marry When I Want

The production by Conrad Makeni of Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ngugi wa Mirii’s play “I Will Marry When I Want” in 1982 landed Ngugi wa Thiong’o in trouble with the authorities. The play was banned and from then on, KNT was viewed as a place harbouring enemies of the state.


Modern Era

The Kenya National Theatre was renovated to include ultra-modern equipment by a joint effort between the government and East African Breweries Ltd. The renewed set-up became a 345-seater modern theatre.


Kenya Theatre Awards

The Kenya Cultural Centre hosted the inaugural Kenya Theatre Awards in a joint partnership with the Kenya International Theatre Festival Trust. Renowned acts like John Sibi-Okumu, David Mulwa, Ogutu Muraya, Sammy Mwangi, Nick Ndeda, Nice Githinji, Wakio Mzenge and Gilbert Lukalia among others were awarded on 17th February 2022.

Kenya Theatre Awards
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