English - Þjóðleikhúsið (2024)

English - Þjóðleikhúsið (1)

The National Theatre of Iceland – Thjodleikhusid

The National Theatre of Iceland (Þjóðleikhúsið)

The National Theatre of Iceland (Þjóðleikhúsið) is a vibrant and dynamic theatre, that has been a leading institution on the Icelandic theatre scene ever since it opened formally in 1950, receiving around 100.000 spectators each season.

The theatre offers a great variety of theatrical productions each year created by outstanding theatre artists. It holds a great artistic prestige, having received numerous theatre awards, as well as popularity among a broad audience.

English - Þjóðleikhúsið (2)


The theatre’s mission is to make outstanding, entertaining, and challenging theatre for a diverse audience, share important and compelling stories, arouse the general public’s interest in the theatre and promote the development of the art of the stage.

The NTI works with prominent theatre artists from Iceland and abroad and nurtures new talent. The theatre tours its productions around Iceland and abroad. A newly established Theatre School aims at preparing young theatre enthusiasts for a career in the theatre.

The NTI aims to be inclusive, diverse, and sustainable.

Selected performances have captioning in English.

English - Þjóðleikhúsið (3)

The theatre building

Situated in the historical centre of Reykjavík, the theatre building itself is iconic, being the first edifice in Iceland constructed and designed for the performing arts.

The theatre’s design, by state architect of Iceland Gudjon Samuelsson, is based on old Icelandic folktales about humans being invited into elf palaces inside giant rocks, entering a transcendental world of colour, lights, dance, and music. The Main Hall’s ceiling is inspired by basalt column formations.

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The theatre contains four separate venues for performances in two buildings:

Main Building

  • The Main Stage (500 seats)
  • The Theatre Cellar Club (100-120 seats)

Black Box Building

  • The Black Box (130 seats)
  • The Small Stage (80 seats)

The theatre offers a variety of refreshments for guests.A little theatre book shop is run in the foyer.

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The NTI premiers around ten new productions each season, as well as re-premieres productions from previous seasons, does co-productions and guest performances. The theatre therefore comprises a varied repertoire of new Icelandic works, new foreign works, Icelandic and foreign classics, musicals, dance pieces and children’s productions.

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 through visits to the theatre.

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Ensemble and production

The NTI is an ensemble theatre with around 25 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. The theatre works closely with schools on all education levels.

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International collaboration

The NTI collaborates internationally with renowned theatres, directors, and designers. Recent and current collaborations include Simon McBurney and the Complicité theatre, Stefan Żeromski in Kielce in Poland, directors Benedict Andrews, Marius von Mayenburg and Yaël Farber and designer Nina Wetzel.

Ellen Babic (world premiere) and Ex, directed by Benedict Andrews

Egal (world premiere), directed by Marius von Mayenburg

My Brilliant Friend, directed by Yaël Farber.

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English - Þjóðleikhúsið (9)

Season 2023-2024

The season 2023-2024 offers a great variety of theatrical productions, all created by outstanding Icelandic and international theatre artists.

This season we offer captioning in English for the 7th performance of productions on our Main Stage.

The world premiere in Iceland of a trilogy by Marius von Mayenburg has been a great triumph, with the premiere of Ellen Babić and Ex, directed by Benedict Andrews, last season, winning the Icelandic Theatre Awards Griman, and the premiere of the third play, Egal, this season, directed by Mayenburg himself. On our main stage we will premiere Mutter Courage and her Children by Bertolt Brecht and Margarete Steffin directed by Una Thorleifsdottir, Edda, based on Norse mythology, created by Thorleifur Orn Arnarsson. We will receivea dance theatre production, Congratulations on Being Human.

Also, on the main stage, there will be two family productions: Gisli Orn Gardarsson will direct a new production of Frozen, that he will stage throughout the Nordic countries, and Stefan Jonsson directs a new Icelandic family musical by Gunnar Helgason, Bjork Jakobsdottir and Thorvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson, The Dream Catcher. We will host an important event by Art Without Borders celebrating the art of disabled theatre artists.

In Kassinn Kolfinna Nikulasdottir stages Phedra‘s Love by Sarah Kane, Thora Karitas Arnadottir stages Prima Facie by Suzie Miller and Bjorn Thors stages Scent of a Loss by Unnur Osp Stefansdottir, based on Elisabet Jokulsdottir‘s writing. We will coproduce Opera One Hundred Thousand by Thorunn Greta Sigurdardottir and Kristin Eiriksdottir, directed by Kolfinna Nikulasdottir.

On The Small Stage we offer three children‘s productions, Lara and her Lion by Birgitta Haukdal and director Gudjon David Karlsson, On Two Feet by Midnaetti and I Can do it by Peter Engkvist, directed by Bjorn Ingi Hilmarsson, that also tours the country. Also a play for and written by teenagers, Secrets, a coproduction led by Asrun Magnusdottir.

A variety of shows, comedy, stand-up, improv, cabaret, concerts, comic opera can be enjoyed in the Theatre Cellar. In the Theatre Cellar R.E.C.Arts hosts workshops for people of minority backgrounds, and the artist-activist collective also curates four Performance Parties during the season. Here we also offer Lunch Theatre Productions: The Assignment and The Visit.

Season 23-24

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Artistic team

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. 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 National Theatre of Iceland
Tel: +354 585 1200
Ticket Office: +354 551 1200
E-mail: leikhusid@leikhusid.is
Ticket office: midasala@leikhusid.is
Address: Hverfisgata 19, IS – 101 Reykjavík

  • Magnús Geir Þórðarson, Artistic Director


  • Steinunn Þórhallsdóttir, Managing Director


  • Tinna Lind Gunnarsdóttir, Scheduling Director


  • Jón Þ. Kristjánsson, Head of Marketing and Experience


  • Melkorka Tekla Ólafsdóttir, Dramaturg, Artistic advisor


  • Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson, Dramaturg, Artistic advisor


  • Vala Fannell, Community Projects Leader and Head of Theatre School



Artistic team

Magnús Geir Þórðarson, Hrafnhildur Hagalín Guðmundsdóttir, Melkorka Tekla Ólafsdóttir, Vala Fannell, Ilmur María Stefánsdóttir, Björn Bergsteinn Guðmundsson, Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir, Þorleifur Örn Arnarsson

Board of the National Theatre

Halldór Guðmundsson, Karítas Ríkharðsdóttir, Sjón – Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson, Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, María Ellingsen

English - Þjóðleikhúsið (2024)
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