The National Theatre of Iceland


The NTI has been a leading institution of the Icelandic theatre scene since the formal opening on April 20th 1950.

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 (Bruduloftid, 70 seats) and The Theatre Cellar (Leikhúskjallarinn, 100-120 seats).  

With its varied selection of different productions, The National Theatre endeavours to stimulate interest in theatre and the dramatic arts while encouraging Icelandic playwrights in their writing and supporting the development of other dramatic creations.
The NTI stages around 20-30 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 stages around ten new productions each year, and also collaborates with independent theatre and dance groups on new productions. 

The NTI is located in the historical centre of Reykjavik. The building itself, designed by state architect Gudjón Samúelsson, was the architect's vision of the theatre as a Palace of Elves, with reference to ancient Icelandic belief that the elves live inside rocks, and that incidentally humans can enter their colorful world of plenty, dance and song. 

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 since 2015 is Mr. Ari Matthíasson.


Season 2018-2019

The National Theatre's season 2018-2019 will feature many exciting and ambitious productions. First class artists will create numerous funny, challenging and fascinating productions, all with their own strong and individual appeal to theatregoers.

Stóra sviðið (Main Stage)

Ronja raeningjadóttir (Ronja the Robber's Daughter) by Astrid Lindgren, directed by Selma Björnsdóttir. Family Musical. Main Stage, September 2018.

Samthykki (Consent) by Nina Raine, directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir. Main Stage, October 2018.

Einrædisherrann (The Great Dictator) adaptation by and directed by Nikolaj Cederholm, based on Charlie Chaplin's film. Main Stage, December 2018.

Jónsmessunaeturdraumur (A Midsummer Night's Dream) by William Shakespeare, directed by Hilmar Jónsson. Main Stage, February 2019.

Loddarinn (Tartuffe) by Molière, directed by Stefan Metz. Main Stage, April 2019.

Kassinn (Black Box)

Fly Me to the Moon by and directed by Marie Jones. Black Box, September 2018.

Súper – þar sem kjöt snýst um fólk (Super - Where Meat is All About People) by Jón Gnarr, directed by Benedikt Erlingsson.  Black Box, March 2019.

Kúlan (Small Stage)

Þitt eigid leikrit –Godsaga (Your Very Own Play - Norse Mythology), play for children by Ævar Þór Benediktsson, directed by Stefán Hallur Stefánsson. Small Stage, February 2019.



Trigger Warning: Velkomin heim! (Welcome Home!) play by María Thelma Smáradóttir. Black Box, February 2019.

Stertabenda: Insomnia play by Amalie Olesen and the group. Black Box, November 2018.

Leiktónar: Ég heiti Gudrún (Jeg hedder Bente / My Name is Bente) by Rikke Wölck. Small Stage, October 2018.

Leikkonur 50+:  Fjallkonan fríd, (Queen of the Mountains), program on the women's rights movement. The Theatre Cellar, season 2018-2019.

Leikkonur 50+: Dansandi ljóð , (Dancing Poems), performance based on poems by Gerður Kristný. The Theatre Cellar, season 2018-2019.

Mid-Ísland: Stand-up Mid-Ísland 2019. The Theatre Cellar, season 2018-2019.

Improv Ísland: Improv  2019. The Theatre Cellar, season 2018-2019.

Reykjavík Kabarett: Cabaret . The Theatre Cellar, season 2018-2019.

Brúduheimar:  Klókur ertu, Einar Áskell by Bernd Ogrodnik. Puppet show for children. The Puppet Theatre Attic.

Marble Crowd:  Moving Mountains , dance performance. Main Stage, November 2018.

Recent productions

Risaedlurnar (The Dinosaurs), written and directed by Ragnar Bragason. Main Stage, October 2017. 

Hafid (The Sea) by Ólafur Haukur Símonarsson, directed by Sigurður Sigurjónsson. Main Stage, December 2018.

Slá í gegn (Make It to the Top), a new Icelandic musical, written and directed by Guðjón Davíð Karlsson, built around popular and treasured songs by the Icelandic band Stuðmenn. Main Stage, February 2018.

Svartalogn (Breezeless) adaptation by Melkorka Tekla Ólafsdóttir of Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir's novel, directed by Hilmir Snær Guðjónsson, music by  Markéta Irglová. Main Stage, April 2018.

Fadirinn (Le Père / The Father) by Florian Zeller, directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir. Black Box, October 2017.

Efi (Doubt) by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Stefán Baldursson. Black Box, January 2018.

Med fulla vasa af grjóti (Stones in His Pockets), premiered in the year 2000 and restaged in 2012, rerun 2017. Director: Ian McElhinney. Main Stage, September 2017.

Oddur and Siggi by Björn Ingi, Oddur and Siggi, directed by Björn Ingi Hilmarsson. Play for Children. Performed on tour and on the Main Stage, season 2017-2018.

Ég get (I Can) by Peter Engkvist, directed by Björn Ingi Hilmarsson. Play for Children. Small Stage, season 2017-2018.

Smán (Disgraced) by Ayad Akhtar, directed by Þorsteinn Bachmann. Small Stage, September 2017. Coproduced by the group Elefant.

Stríd (War), cooperation project of The National Theatre and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, by artist Ragnar Kjartansson and composer Kjartan Sveinsson. Main Stage, May 2018.

Adfaranótt (The Night Before), graduation project of the Performing Arts department of the Iceland Academy of the Arts. By Kristján Thórdur Hrafnsson, directed by Una Thorleifsdóttir.  Black Box, May, 2018.


Enemy of the People ( Óvinur fólksins ) by Henrik Ibsen. Adaptation: Gréta Kristín Ómarsdóttir and Una Thorleifsdóttir. Director: Una Thorleifsdóttir. Main Stage, September 2017.

The Elves Palace (Alfahollin) by and directed by Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson. Main Stage, April 2017.


The House (Húsid) by Gudmundur Steinsson. Director: Benedikt Erlingsson. Main Stage, March 2017.


Faraway Land ( Fjarskaland ) by Gudjón Davíd Karlsson. Director: Selma Björnsdóttir. Main Stage, January 2017.

Othello by William Shakespeare. Director: Gísli Örn Gardarsson. Main Stage, December 2016.


A View from the Bridge (Horft frá brúnni) by Arthur Miller. Director: Stefan Metz. Main Stage, September 2016.

Djöflaeyjan - Devil's Island by Einar Kárason. Adapted by Atli Rafn Sigurdarson, Melkorka Tekla Ólafsdóttir and the ensemble. Director:Atli Rafn Sigurdarson. Main Stage, September 2016.

The Thief of Time ( Tímathjófurinn ) by Steinunn Sigurdardóttir. Adapted by Melkorka Tekla Ólafsdóttir. Director: Una Thorleifsdóttir. Black Box, March 2017. Pdf for further information.


Good People (Gott fólk) by Valur Grettisson. Adapted by Valur Grettisson and Símon Birgisson. Director: Una Thorleifsdóttir. Black Box, January 2017.


A Man Called Ove (Madur sem heitir Ove) by Fredrik Backman. Director: Bjarni Haukur Thorsson. Black Box, September 2016.

Segulsvid - Magnetic Field by Sigurdur Pálsson. Directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Black Box, 2015.


The Woman at 1000° - Konan vid Thúsund grádur by Hallgrímur Helgason. Directed by Una Thorleifsdóttir. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Black Box, 2014.


The Crucible - Eldraunin by Arthur Miller. Director: Stefan Metz. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Main Stage, 2014.


Independent People - Sjálfstaett fólk by Halldór Laxness. Directed by Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Main Stage, 2014.


Karitas by Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir, adapted by Ólafur Egill Egilsson and Símon Birgisson. Directed by Harpa Arnardóttir. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Main Stage, 2014.


Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Directed by Benedict Andrews. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Main Stage, 2012.

Macbeth-Thjodleikhusid_B7D7488-copyMacbeth-Thjodleikhusid_B7D7422-copyMacbeth-Thjodleikhusid_B7D7646-copyMacbeth-Thjodleikhusid_B7D7689-copyAngels of the Universe - Englar alheimsins by Einar Már Gudmundsson, Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson and Símon Birgisson. Directed by Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Main Stage, 2013.


King Lear - Lér konungur by William Shakespeare. Directed by Benedict Andrews. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Main Stage, 2011.


Utan gátta - Off Target by Sigurdur Pálsson. Directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir. Premiered at The National Theatre of Iceland, Black Box, 2008.



The NTI often tours its productions around Iceland and many productions have also toured abroad, most recently Othello at the 2017 Festival in Bratislava (2017), 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).


Othello at the 2017 

Theatre Awards

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).

Young Audiences

Young audiences at The National Theatre of Iceland, pdf.

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