The Royal Dramatic Theatre – Sweden´s national theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre, commonly known as Dramaten, is Sweden´s national theatre. The theatre has an assignment from the government to perform classical theatre, newly written national and international theatre, and theatre for children and youths. The theatre is owned by the state. The current head of the theatre is Marie-Louise Ekman.
The Royal Dramatic Theatre´s building at Nybroplan in Stockholm has been the theatres home since 1908. This great art noveau-building houses five stages. The Main Theatre seats up to 770 spectators. The Royal Dramatic Theatre´s scene for childs and youth, Unga Dramaten, is placed at a separate stage called Elverket.
The Royal Dramatic Theatre as an institution was founded in May 1788 by King Gustaf III - who as a child used to get out of bed in the middle of the night to indulge in dramatic declamation. His ambition was to ”establish a national stage, where the works of Swedish dramatists will be performed before the general public by Swedish actors to the benefit of language, taste and the public mores.” All Swedish authors were expected to supply the theatre with plays. The King himself set an example; seven of his plays were performed at the Royal Dramatic Theatre before his death in 1792.
It proved to be a difficult task for the Swedish writers and the theatre was soon forced to perform foreign, mainly French, plays. Not until the middle of the 1800´s did a reasonably vital Swedish dramatic tradition begin to emerge. But the Kings´s hopes were probably first realised with August Strindberg, who eventually became one of the national stage´s most cherished playwrights.
The King soon realised that if the works of Swedish dramatists were to succeed on stage he needed skilled actors. Therefor, a drama school was founded in 1787, in which the students were taught singing, dance and recitation. The Drama School has graduated several extraordinary classes, like the class of 1922. Part of this group was both Alf Sjöberg, who came to direct 138 plays at Dramaten, and the famous Greta Gustafsson-Garbo. In 1964 the Drama school at Dramaten closed, and the education was to be taken over by the state-run school.
The 1800´s belonged to the great stars. Reserving the right to do as they pleased and using rehearsals mainly for rough sketching, they often shocked both the audience and their fellow-actors by their unexpected acting on the opening night. The later centurys has seen more of Director in focus. Some of the most known are Olof Molander, Alf Sjöberg and of course Ingmar Bergman, who also was head of the theatre 1963-1966. Ingmar Bergman debuted at Dramaten in 1951 with Light in the Shack and in 2002 his farewell play, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, premiered.
Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival (in swedish known as
Bergmanfestivalen) is an international theatre festival in the spirit of Ingmar Bergman. The first festival took place in 2009, and the second edition takes place during the early summer of 2012. The festival is a place for where different cultures and expressions can meet. A platform for curiosity, discussions and fresh ideas. Read more at www.bergmanfestival.com.