Ethiopian National Theatre, which was used to be called the Haile Selassie I Theatre,
and which before that has set out to be Cinema Marconi, holds an
interesting place in the history of Addis Ababa.
1946, the Municipality of Addis Ababa recruited a band with the main
objective to play Ethiopian songs by soloists accompanied by a modern
orchestra; this was motivated by the influence of western
& eastern culture. On the one hand, Ethiopia was not to insulate
itself against these trends, on the other, the Ethiopian traditional music
should survive. Thus began the process of giving a modern setting to the
folk traditions of the country and this in turn prompted the Government to
set up a National Theatre.
This was an innovation and aimed at preserving folk-music
traditions of the country.
the very center of the capital, the Italians had started to build Cinema
Marconi, but they were expelled when it was only half completed. It became
a dumping place for garbage. In 1955 the building was completed for the
celebrations of the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of His Imperial Majesty. The
building rose from a ramshackle hall, which could seat some three hundred and
fifty people or so to an imposing edifice which could seat an audience
of the Theatre Building
at the same year the
Municipality called professor Franz Zelwecker, Austrian composer and music
director, in Ethiopia as the first director of the National Theatre.
Zelwecker faced the huge task of training young
artists and making them ready in short time for the inauguration of the
theatre on the day of the Silver Jubilee of the Emperor's coronation.
Emperor was highly moved by the Performance- the growth of dramatic and musical expressions
that was achieved
a minimal time frame.
'' David and Uriah'' , an original play by the then Prime Minister, H.E.
Bitwoded Mekonnen Endalkatchew and directed by Franz Zelwecker,
music performed on
the night of the inauguration.
present the Ethiopian National Theatre is organized into two Directorates,
i.e.,the Theatre Directorate, and the Music Directorate .
The Theatre Directorate has
two performing groups while the Music Directorate comprises three modern and folk music groups, namely Izra Folk Music and Dance Group,
Yared Modern Orchestra, Dawit POP Orchestra and String Orchestra.
'' Hamlet '' Performance
Getnet Enyew as ''
Biru as "Gertredw
T/Mariam as '' Claudius
and Alemu G/Ab as '' Polonius)