About

For the first thirty years of its existence, the theatre functioned primarily as a touring company. In 1898–99 an open competition for the façade fronting Rautatientori Square was held and Jarl Eklund’s entry won the first prize. The implementation, however, was entrusted to Onni Tarjanne (Törnqvist), who had drawn up the theatre layout for the façade competition. The theatre had not acquired a permanent home until then, 1902, when this purpose-built theatre was erected in the heart of Helsinki, adjacent to the city’s main railway station.

The granite-clad building by Tarjanne, with its soapstone ornaments, is one of the monuments of Finnish Jugendstil, National Romanticism. The statue of writer Aleksis Kivi (1834–1872), designed by Wäinö Aaltonen in 1939, is located in front of the theatre building. Since the national romantic period Kivi has been regarded as Finland’s national writer with his realistic-romantic novels describing the harsh life in the rural country.

In the 1930s an extension to the theatre building was built on the Kaisaniemi park side. The extension, also by Tarjanne, contains workshops and wardrobes. Another extension, the so-called Small Stage representing radical Modernism, was built in 1954 according to the design by Heikki and Kaija Siren. In addition to the two stages, the theatre comprises the Willensauna Stage built in 1976, and the Omapohja Studio Stage built in 1987.

The renovation and restauration of the theatre was completed during the centenary of the building in 2002 by architect Sari Schulman.

Location

Läntinen Teatterikuja 1, Helsinki
60.1724159, 24.9435598

Images

Drawing by Onni Tarjanne, 1901., Finnish National Theatre
Drawing by Onni Tarjanne, 1901., Finnish National Theatre (© MFA)
Finnish National Theatre
Finnish National Theatre (© Ivan Timiriasew / Helsinki City Museum)
Main façade in the 1960s.
, Finnish National Theatre
Main façade in the 1960s. , Finnish National Theatre (© Nils Wasastjerna / MFA)
Façade detail, photo from the 1980s., Finnish National Theatre
Façade detail, photo from the 1980s., Finnish National Theatre (© Kari Hakli / MFA)
Finnish National Theatre
Finnish National Theatre (© Neena Villberg / Finnish National Theatre)
Entrance hall in 2002., Finnish National Theatre
Entrance hall in 2002., Finnish National Theatre (© Finnish National Theatre)
Main Stage in 2002., Finnish National Theatre
Main Stage in 2002., Finnish National Theatre (© Finnish National Theatre)
Extension on the Kaisaniemi Park side by Heikki and Kaija Siren, photo from 2002.
, Finnish National Theatre
Extension on the Kaisaniemi Park side by Heikki and Kaija Siren, photo from 2002. , Finnish National Theatre (© Finnish National Theatre)
Plan showing the original theatre building by Onni Tarjanne and the extension by Heikki and Kaija Siren.
, Finnish National Theatre
Plan showing the original theatre building by Onni Tarjanne and the extension by Heikki and Kaija Siren. , Finnish National Theatre (© MFA)