The National Theatre of Iceland is a vibrant and dynamic theatre that reeks of excellence, innovation, and aesthetics. The theatre is in Reykjavik—the Icelandic capital. It was designed by the great Architect Gudjon Samuelson who also designed the Hallgrimskirkja Church of Iceland.
Visiting the National Theatre of Iceland must be on the bucket list of every history and architecture fanatic. The beauty of the building knows no bounds and will take you to seventh heaven. For those unaware, theatres in Iceland are referred to as Borgaleikhusid or the People’s Theatres.
The National Theatre of Iceland embodies royalty and extravagance at its finest. The baronial building’s structure is covered with red carpet floors and encapsulates intricate gilded artworks of gold and silver. Since its inception in the 1950s, the National Theatre has been a hub of brilliant shows and decorated plays. The National Theatre has a huge role to play in making Icelandic theatre and arts popular. Now that we know about the rudimentary aspects of the National Theatre, let us observe the building’s structure.
The National Theatre is one of Iceland’s most long-lived art institutions. It is an architectural marvel that is hard to miss. The original building of the National Theater at Reykjavik comprises three stages, and one stage is at a separate building behind the main building. The biggest is the main stage which has a seating capacity of 500 people, followed by the Black Box that can house 140 people. The third-largest stage is the Theatre Cellar that can accommodate 120 people. The fourth stage—located in a separate building—is Kulan or the Ball, where 80 people can easily sit. If you are a theatre enthusiast and are planning to visit Iceland, then you must visit the National Theatre of Iceland as, undoubtedly, it is a haven for all drama and play lovers.
The National Theatre has a robust performance season. It works with decorated theatre artists from Iceland and abroad and witnesses annual spectatorship of more than 100,000 people. In each season, more than 30 productions are presented.
The National Theatre has won several national and international theatre awards as well. The plays and dramas showcased in the theatre are an amalgamation of old and new dramas seamlessly meshed together. Some of the most famous plays that have been showcased in the National Theatre include ‘Metamorphosis’ in 2008, ‘Off Target’ in 2009, ‘King Lear’ in 2011, and ‘Macbeth’ in 2013. The production of the National Theatre of Iceland also collaborates with dance groups, independence theatre, and other performers to add a more holistic approach to their shows.
The National Theatre is sponsored by Iceland’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture. The aim is to develop an Icelandic culture synonymous with plays, musicals, dance performances, and classics. Emphasis is also laid on the fostering of Icelandic writing for theatre.
The theatre also showcases various productions for children. But, we must admit that apart from all the magnificent plays that grace the stage of the National Theatre, the monumental structure itself is a sight for sore eyes. It is noteworthy to highlight that the theatre remains closed during the summer months, and most of its productions are in the Icelandic language. But, it is undeniable that the shows are an absolute delight to watch, even for Non-Icelandic speakers.
Now that we have had a substantial grasp on the fundamentals of the National Theatre, let us glance at a few of the fun facts associated with the place.
Now, let us observe the location of the National Theatre of Iceland.
The National Theatre is located in Reykjavik—the capital of Iceland. It is situated on Hverfisgata 19—an area neighboring and parallel to the famous Laugavegur shopping street. The geographical coordinates of the National Theatre are 64.1471° N, 21.9314° W. You can easily spot the National Theatre building because of its dark-grey stones and its baronial structure that aptly stands out within the round. The greyish and dark themes of the National Theatre sets it apart from the other buildings in the vicinity. As the National Theatre is within walking distance from most of the accommodations downtown, you can quickly reach the place. The theatre is located next to the Safnahusid bus stop.
The National Theatre is 8 minutes walking from Hallgrimkirkja Church and is just 12 minutes from Hlemmur Food Court. Moreover, it is a measly nine minutes walk from the Harpa Concert and Conference Hall. Therefore, reaching the National Theatre is easy and hassle-free.
The hours of the theatre are:
It is noteworthy to highlight that the hours of the actual plays may be different.
The National Theatre of Iceland in itself is a marvelous place. You can watch the site, visit the theatre, and bask in its glory. But, there are a myriad of enticing activities that you can indulge in if you are near the National Theatre of Iceland. You can visit Safnahusid, or shop in the famous Laugavegur Street. You can see Hallgrimskirkja Church as well. The Old Harbor of Reykjavik is also a fantastic place. You can also go to Raudisandur Beach and have a fun day out there. Also, if you love beaches, then the Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach might become your favorite spot. A few other places that you can visit near the National Theatre are:
After grasping the nitty-gritty of the National Theatre of Iceland, let us see a few of the other things that can be done in Reykjavik.
6. The Northern Lights are one of the intrinsic specialties of Iceland. If you plan to visit the National Theatre of Iceland during the day, you must opt to experience the ethereal Northern Lights at night. You can take a tour of the Northern Lights and hunt for the best view of this natural phenomenon with the assistance of an expert.
7. One of the most sought-after activities in Reykjavik is FlyOver Iceland, wherein you will be given the opportunity to take a flight over Iceland without purchasing plane tickets.
In conclusion, the National Theatre Iceland is a modern-day marvel that deserves all the hype in the world. If you are musing about a vacation to Iceland, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in a once-in-a-lifetime experience by watching one of the plays showcased in the National Theatre. Moreover, the best part is that after visiting the National Theatre in Reykjavik, you can see the various fantastic places that amply abound from Reykjavik.