The 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 Hager Fikir Theater is not only the theater with the greatest tradition in Ethiopia but also the oldest indigenous theater in Africa. It stands for more than 70 years of cultural life in Addis Ababa. It is a playhouse where modern Ethiopian music and drama were born and nurtured.
The Ethiopian National Theater, 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.
In 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.
At 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 1260