HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF NAMIBIA
Previously known as the Arts Theatre (1960) and the ‘Windhoek Teater’ (1973) renovated in March 1973, the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) was established 15 August 1989 with the objectives of presenting, producing, managing performing arts in Namibia. Prior to the establishment, the theatre’s facilities were administered by the then ‘South West Africa Performing Arts Council (SWAPAC)’, catering for western ideals only during the then, apartheid period. Following independence on 21 March 1991, the Namibian government pursued to support the objectives of the NTN.
The theatre has committed to produce local artistic works and invite international productions for audiences. Though challenged with limited funding and resources, the NTN has pursued its artistic and audience development program overs the years. Since the early 1990s, the NTN branched out to other theatre venues in the city and extended to other regions in the country addressing dynamic narratives for a variety of audiences. This produced the theatre’s strong history of producing live music productions and developing community and youth theatre.
Within the national development goals, the NTN has continuously recognized its leading role in motivating Namibian artistic expressions and experiences for international visitors and local audiences. The theatre has been able to create important partnerships with international bodies and the local private sector. Moreover, the theatre is partially funded by the Namibian government and is tasked to seek additional funding and support annually. With the government’s support, the NTN is able to provide technical, logistic and artistic assistance to local artists and institutions. Additionally, with this grant, the NTN commits to facilitate skills development amongst theatre practitioners and other cultural institutions. Skills development range from scriptwriting, design, performing techniques, technical to stage management for young people and professionals.
Today the theatre continues to maintain an artistic vision towards skills development, instigating the creation of critical stories and innovative storytelling techniques for a variety of audiences in the country.