Hager fikir Theater in Addis Ababa is not only the theater with the greatest tradition in town but also the oldest indigenous theater in Africa It stands for more than 74 Years of cultural life in Addis Ababa. It is a legendary play house where modern Ethiopian music and drama were born and nurtured. Many stars like Aster Aweke , Tilahun Gesesse and Frewu Hailu began their careers on the stage of Hager Fikir Theatre . Both traditional Ethiopian plays and translations of European playwrights by william shakespeare, Friedrich Schiller, Henrik Ibsen and Moliere have been produced at Hager Fikir Theatre in the last decades. Hager Fikir Theater was founded in 1935, when people of Addis Ababa founded ''Hager Fikir Maheber'' (Association for the love of the Motherland) to stand against the upcoming Italian invasion. The founders wanted to mobilise the Ethiopian people and galvanize their patriotic motive. The first Theater production presented at(open air) menlik square. From that on Hager Fikir Theater survived. However there were few uncritical and fascist-friendly plays brought on stage during the period of occupation.
After the withdrawal of the Italian troops in 1942 the theatre-crew moved from Menelik square to the place where it is located nowadays in the piazza-District. An ancient Italian nightclub was reconstructed as a theater hall. At the 25 th anniversary of Haile selassie's emperorship in 1955 the main entrance of the hall was enlarged and an imperial balcony and lounge was built. During the rule of Haile Selassie the Hager Fikir Theater grew, although the Emperor established the Haile-Selassie- Theatre (today the National Theater) as an additional theater in Addis Ababa. The Hager Fikir Theater continued as a Popular theater for the common people of the city whereas the Haile-Selassie-Theatre was mainly visited by high class society.
Besides regular performances the Hager Fikir Theater also provided radio shows on Ethiopian radio which were broadcast live from the studio and Theater. Moreover the troop went on tour regularly, so that people from rural Ethiopia also could have access to the productions of Hager Fikir.
After Haile selassie and during the Derg-Regime the Hager Fikir Theater continued to produce socialistic plays and performances. Musicians and actors were mostly controlled and the work of the directors was censured by the government. In 1975 the them director Tesfaye Gesesse was arrested for his play 'Iqaw' ('The Thing') . It was said to be anti- Derg and anti-revolutionary. After the downfall of the Der-Regime in 1991, the Hager Fikir Theater continued its work. Nowadays, more than 120 people work for the theater, among these are around 80 actors, singers and dancers. Theater performances are on schedule most of the days. Movies are performed on weekend and musical shows are on stage on public holidays.
Hager fikir Theater
Contact person- Menbere Tadesse