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Nakuru’s new look theatre breathes life back into drama circles

By Caroline chebet | Published Fri, July 28th 2017 at 00:00, Updated July 27th 2017 at 22:58 GMT +3
Inside the refurbished Nakuru Players Theatre. [Caroline Chebet, Standard]

In summary

  • Nakuru Players Theatre is one of the oldest buildings in Kenya  
  • Theatre lovers are beginning to trickle back after facelift

The iconic Nakuru Players Theatre has been given a new lease of life after a major Sh15 million facelift funded by the county.

The theatre, which used to be patronised by colonial nobles such as Lord Delamere and Lord Egerton, is back on its feet after years of battling with crippling infrastructural challenges.

Before the make over, the theatre, put up in 1949, had sunk to its lowest, with a leaking roof, old and inadequate furniture and dilapidated rooms.

This has changed, thanks to the county's intervention.

"Currently, we have high-end facilities that has attracted scores of art lovers,” said Joseph Maina, one of the directors at the theatre.

Massive repairs including new roofing, painting, lighting and repairing of the infrastructure has reawakened the theatre's creative spirit.

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According to Mr Maina, theatre lovers are beginning to trickle back.

“The theatre reception in Nakuru is evolving quite well and fast, apart from artists who frequented theatre on daily basis for rehearsals, college and university students are part of the new entrants," he said.

Barely three months after the opening up of the theatre, following months of renovations, the theatre has become the meeting point for budding thespians.

“I came in a few months ago after the theatre was renovated. It is an awesome experience for me as I met great trainers who are working with me to become a better artiste,” said Nyagucha Obare, an actress at the theatre.

Everyday, rehearsals for plays, dances, acrobatics and songs to be staged on weekends are always on.

When The Standard team visited the theatre,  a group of artistes were rehearsing Have you Seen Our husband and Boeing Boeing, by the French playwright, Marc Camoletti.

The comedy-packed plays feature an enthusiastic group of young actors and actresses who seem to have mastered the art so well.

Boeing Boeing, a play featuring three gorgeous airline stewardesses engaged to one man although they have never met, is to be staged in a few weeks’ time.

“It is a thrilling play that requires a lot of focus. We have spent many evenings rehearsing,” said Esther Wanjiru, an actress playing the role of Martha in the play.

The new-look theatre, she said, was boon to upcoming actors and actresses.

"The theatre is playing a massive role in molding our careers already," she said.

The facelift seems to have inspired local playwrights who are churning out one creative masterpiece after another.  Plans are underway to create linkages between the theatre and learning institutions in the region.

“We are liaising with the local institutions, both local and international, to initiate partnerships that will foresee projects such as exchange programs and boot camps for productions,” said Maina.

According to the theatre's chairman, Francis Gachau, the return of regular shows is drawing audiences, among them the corporate world.

“We are targeting to make our youth more competitive; we are getting very positive responses already,” said Mr Gachau.

Previously, he says, many theatre lovers in Nakuru were forced to travel to Nairobi to watch creative productions.

This is bound to change with the return of a refurbished, new-look Nakuru Players Theatre.

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