The National Theatre of Iceland

The National Theatre of Iceland

The National Theatre of Iceland has been a leading institution on the Icelandic theatre scene ever since it opened formally on 20 April 1950. One of the theatre's main obligations is to arouse the general public's interest in the theatre and other arts of the stage, and promote their development. The theatre's main purpose is the staging of Icelandic and foreign plays, with emphasis on the development of Icelandic writing for the theatre.

Today the theatre has five separate venues: the Main Stage (Stóra svidid, 500 seats), the Black Box (Kassinn, 140 seats), the Small Stage for Children (Kúlan, 80 seats), The Puppet Theatre Attic (Brúduloftid, 70 seats) and The Theatre Cellar (Leikhúskjallarinn, 100-120 seats).
The NTI performs around thirty productions each season (new productions, re-premieres, co-productions and guest performances), comprising a varied repertoire of new Icelandic works, new foreign works, Icelandic and foreign classics, musicals, dance pieces, puppet theatre and children's productions. The theatre produces around ten new productions each year, and also collaborates with independent theatre and dance groups.
The theatre serves an important role in the development of new Icelandic plays, and aims to develop youngsters' appreciation of the theatre through productions especially intended for children and youth, and special visits to the theatre.
The NTI often tours its productions around Iceland and many productions have also toured abroad, most recently Gerpla at The Bergen International Festival (2010), Shimmer the Silver Fish at international children festivals in Sweden and Russia (2010 and 2011), The Sea Museum at the Centre Dramatique National d'Orléans and the Théâtre de Gennevilliers in France (2009 and 2010), Peer Gynt at the Ibsen Festival in Oslo (2006), Barbican Centre in London (2007) and Bozar in Brussels (2008), The Green House in the Faroe Islands (2006) and Kitchen by Measure at the Royal Danish Theatre (2006).

The National Theatre of Iceland has won several theatre awards. Ever since the establishment of The Icelandic Theatre Award Gríman in 2003, the theatre and its artists have won many Gríman awards, including Best Production for Macbeth (2013), King Lear (2011), Off Target (2009), Metamorphoses, co-produced with Lyric Hammersmith and Vesturport (2008), Peer Gynt (2006) and Things are Going Great (2004).
The National Theatre of Iceland belongs to the Icelandic nation and is funded by the Icelandic Government's Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

The artistic director of The National Theatre is Mr. Ari Matthíasson.


Artistic Directors of The National Theatre from 1950:

  • 1949-1972 Mr. Guðlaugur Rósinkranz
  • 1972-1983 Mr. Sveinn Einarsson 
  • 1983-1991 Mr. Gísli Alfreðsson 
  • 1991-2005 Mr. Stefán Baldursson 
  • 2005-2015 Ms. Tinna Gunnlaugsdóttir 
  • 2015-        Mr. Ari Matthíasson