The National Theatre of Iceland is a vibrant and dynamic theatre, that has been a leading institution on the Icelandic theatre scene ever since it opened formally in 1950. The NTI works with outstanding theatre artists from Iceland and abroad, and receives around 100.000 spectators each season.
The National Theatre of Iceland is a leading theatre institution in Iceland and has won several theatre awards, home and abroad.
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. Performances are in Icelandic.
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 twenty 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.
Ensemble and production
The NTI is an ensemble theatre with around 35 actors employed on a permanent basis, and also works with actors with temporary assignments. The theatre runs its own efficient production departments that manufacture sets, costumes and wigs, as well as productive sound and lighting departments. A normal rehearsal period is eight weeks, the last four weeks on stage. The theatre works closely with schools on all education levels.
The NTI is situated in downtown Reykjavík. Today the theatre performs in five separate venues: the Main Stage (Stóra svidid, 500 seats), the Black Box (Kassinn, 130 seats), the Small Stage for Children (Kúlan, 80 seats), The experimental space the Attic (Loftið, 70 seats) and The Theatre Cellar Cabaret Club (Leikhúskjallarinn, 100-120 seats). The theatre offers a variety of refreshments for guests. A little theatre book shop is run in the foyer.
The NTI collaborates internationally, notably with renowned directors and designers. Among international directors who have recently enriched the Icelandic theatre scene are Yaël Farber (My Brilliant Friend 2021), Benedict Andrews (Macbeth 2013, King Lear 2010), Stefan Metz (Tartuffe 2019, View from the Bridge 2016, Eyvindur and Halla 2015, The Crucible 2014, The Caucasian Chalk Circle 1999) and Rimas Tuminas (The Seagull 1993, Don Juan 1995, Three Sisters 1997, The Cherry Orchard 2000, Richard III 2003). Other collaborations are under way.
Icelandic directors that work closely with the NTI have also gained international prestige, as theatre and film directors, among them Baltasar Kormákur (Adrift, Everest), Benedikt Erlingsson (Nordic Council Film Prize for Horses and Men and Woman at War), Una Þorleifsdóttir (Theatr im. Stefana Zeromskiego w Kielcach), Gísli Örn Garðarsson (Young Vic, Lyric Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, American Repertory Theater) and Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson (Volksbühne Berlin, Schauspiel Hannover).
The NTI often tours its productions around Iceland and many productions have also toured abroad, among them Tragedy at the Worlds Stages, Kennedy Center, Gerpla at The Bergen International Festival, Shimmer the Silver Fish at international children festivals in Sweden and Russia, The Sea Museum at the Centre Dramatique National d’Orléans and Peer Gynt at the Ibsen Festival in Oslo, Barbican Centre in London and Bozar in Brussels.
Gender equality, diversity and staff policy It is the shared ambition of the NTI´s staff that the work ethics at the theatre shall be outstanding. The employee team has a vision of a collective approach in the making of theatre, and makes every endeavor for a friendly and encouraging atmosphere in the workplace. The NTI strives for upholding equality and cultivating diversity among its staff and audiences, and in its artistic objectives. Gender equality is at the heart of the personnel policy. The theatre has an official gender equality plan and received an official Equal Pay certification in 2020. The National theatre is working on a diversity strategy for the years ahead. In 2018 a Pact of Communication was co-created by the NTI staff and now serves as a communal code of conduct within the workplace.
The director of The National Theatre, from January 2020, is Mr. Magnus Geir Thordarson. Soon after his appointment a new artistic team and management was introduced. In the spring of 2020 a new strategy and organizational chart was introduced. Now, enhanced importance is placed on new writing, Icelandic work, international collaboration and the development of new audiences and education. In the autumn a new laboratory, Loftid, was opened, Kjallarinn became a new theatre-club-cabaret-venue, a Lunchtime theatre was introduced and the whole front of house was renovated with a new restaurant-area intended to offer the audiences a richer experience.
The season 2020-2021 offers a great variety of theatrical productions, ranging from moving, intimate drama to impressive big shows, with a diverse selection of new Icelandic writing, contemporary European stories, reimagined classics, a big scale musical family production, charming small children productions, all created by outstanding Icelandic and international theatre artists.
Unfortunately, as with all theatres in the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the theatre’s activities greatly in 2020.
Magnús Geir Þórðarson, Artistic Directormagnusgeir@leikhusid.is
Hrafnhildur Hagalín Guðmundsdóttir, Dramaturg, Deputy Artistic Directorhrafnhildur@leikhusid.is
Melkorka Tekla Ólafsdóttir, Dramaturg, Artistic firstname.lastname@example.org
Steinunn Þórhallsdóttir, Managing Directorsteinunnth@leikhusid.is
Tinna Lind Gunnarsdóttir, Scheduling Directortinnalind@leikhusid.is
Jón Þ. Kristjánsson, Head of Marketing and Experiencejorri@leikhusid.is
Gréta Kristín Ómarsdóttir, Artistic director of Kjallari & Loft, Dramaturggreta@leikhusid.is
Björn Ingi Hilmarsson, Young Audiencesbjorningi@leikhusid.is