Excerpt from Wikipedia:
The Finnish National Theatre (Finnish: Suomen Kansallisteatteri), established in 1872, is a theatre located in central Helsinki on the northern side of the Helsinki Central Railway Station Square. The Finnish National Theatre is the oldest Finnish speaking professional theatre in Finland. It was known as the Finnish Theatre until 1902, when it was renamed the Finnish National Theatre.
For the first thirty years of its existence, the theatre functioned primarily as a touring company. The theatre did not acquire a permanent home until 1902, when a purpose-built structure was erected in the heart of Helsinki, adjacent to the city’s main railway station. The building hosting the Finnish National Theatre today was completed in 1902 and designed by architect Onni Tarjanne in the National Romantic style, inspired by romantic nationalism. The theatre still operates in these premises today, and over the years the building has expanded from its original size to encompass another three permanent stages. In addition to the Main Stage (Suuri näyttämö), the theatre comprises the Small Stage (Pieni näyttämö) built in 1954 (by architects Heikki Siren and Kaija Siren), the Willensauna Stage built in 1976, and the Omapohja studio built in 1987. The theatre is often associated with the Finnish national romantic writer Aleksis Kivi, as the Aleksis Kivi Memorial is located in front of it.
The Finnish National Theatre is the oldest Finnish speaking professional theatre in Finland. The birth of the Finnish National Theatre was closely linked to the nation’s political and cultural ideology during the late nineteenth century. Finland was a part of the Russian Empire, and its intellectual elite was Swedish speaking. Finnish language and art, including theatre, became the cornerstones of a cultural movement which began in the 1860s, gradually developing political ambitions by the turn of the century, and eventually leading to national independence in 1917.
The theatre was established as a touring theatre in 1872 by the name Suomalainen teatteri, The Finnish Theatre. The first performance was given in 13 October 1872 in the west coast town of Pori at the Hotel Otava, which today is considered to be the birthplace of the Finnish-language theatre. For the first thirty years of its existence, The Finnish Theatre functioned primarily as a touring company. Its first directors were the siblings Kaarlo and Emilie Bergbom.
The theatre did not acquire a permanent home until 1902, when a purpose-built structure was erected prominently in the heart of Helsinki, adjacent to the city’s main railway station, the Helsinki Central railway station. The building was designed by Onni Tarjanne in the National Romantic style, inspired by romantic nationalism. At the same time, the name Finnish Theatre was switched into the Finnish National Theatre. In 1939, the Aleksis Kivi Memorial (designed by Wäinö Aaltonen) was erected in front of the theatre, to commemorate the Aleksis Kivi and his role in Finnish theatrical art.
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