The History of the College

Copyright: Rudolf Blauth
College-Theatre 2001

After the independence of Tanzania in 1961, the new Ministry of Culture founded the "National Theatre Company" and the "National Dance Company".

In 1980 the government broke up both groups in favour of the government funded Bagamoyo College of Arts, which, deliberately, lies 80 km north of the city of Dar es Salaam in Bagamoyo. The college is not only supposed to school young talents, but also to research and to perform.

The first school buildings and rehearsal rooms were simple barracks which had served as business buildings before. Only much later, in the early 90s, a big theatre building was added which could host open-air performances (about 1500 seats) or ones in a walled and roofed theater (about 500 seats). This was the only true theater in Tanzania. It was financed half by the Swedish and half by the Norwegian governments who both still massively support the College of Arts in many ways.

In the middle of the 90s, the living conditions for the 45 students improved. For the first time decent student hostels were built, so the students could live in rooms with two beds and shower/toilet facilities instead of the early common dormitories.

Copyright: Rudolf Blauth
In 2002 the theatre burnt down

Since 1998 there have been plans to enlarge the College into a training center for the whole south and central African area - to be built also with Scandinavian support.

In January 2002 the College theater burned down.

In July 2003 the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with development partners (Norway, Sweden) intends to construct a new theatre at the Bagamoyo College of Arts - start in 2006. The Ministry of Education and Culture developed a new masterplan for the college.

In October 2008 the new theatre, financed by Sweden, Norway and the government of Tanzania, and some others buildings (stage for rehearsals etc.) were opened. The new theatre with 1500 seats is the largest theatre in East Africa. 

Bagamoyo College of Arts got the status of an cultural institution called TASUBA.

Principal is Juma Bakari.