The Kenya Cultural Centre incorporating The Kenya National Theatre and herein referred to as
“the Centre” is a semi-autonomous Government agency under the Ministry of Sports, Culture
and Heritage. The Centre is a statutory institution established by the Kenya Cultural Centre Act
Cap 218 of 1951.
The idea of establishing The Kenya Cultural Centre was conceptualized in late 1940s being a
shared interest by several community cultural organizations in collaboration with the colonial
British Government. The idea of the Centre was born at a time that the Country was in need of a
cultural space and facilities that would provide a platform for unhindered multi-racial enjoyment
of diverse culture and creative activities within the country.
In 1949, the British Government developed a charter that provided for the establishment of a
cultural space where Kenyans of all creed would enjoy culture and art without discrimination in
regard to race, gender among other factors. Subsequently in 1950, the colonial government
passed an Ordinance establishing the Kenya Cultural Centre, this establishing Ordinance that
came into force in 1951 later became the establishing Act of the Centre.
The first project undertaken by the Centre was the building of Kenya National Theatre as a facility for theatre performances. The National Theatre, christened “the Shrine” by thespians and theatre performers in the Country, was the very first national theatre among many planned for constructions within British colonies world-wide. The Kenya National Theatre eventually opened for operations in 1952. The KCC/NT office block which incorporates facilities for teaching, practice, gallery exhibition and performance of music was completed and became operational in 1960. Since the establishment of the Kenya Cultural Centre many performances, artists, audiences and stories have registered their long-lasting impressions within the hallowed indoor ambience of the refurbished Kenya National Theatre. In 2015, the Kenya Cultural Centre entered into a critical period of transition, geared at equipping it with the resources it needs to serve the national priorities with an aim of achieving the Big 4 Agenda. The art and cultural landscape have undergone significant changes since the establishment of the Centre and the Centre has always endeavored to keep abreast with these changes.