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History

For 120 years, the country’s main stage has provided an arena for Norwegian dramatic artists, classical and innovative theatrical productions, grand celebrations, and bitter conflicts.

When the National Theatre opened on September the 1st 1899, it assumed the role of Norway’s national theatre previously held by the Christiania Theatre. The same year, the Christiania Theatre was demolished, making room for the Bank of Norway (Norges Bank).

Powerful forces wanted to situate the new theatre in the Studenterlunden park. The university objected, finding it inappropriate for a theatre to occupy the space between the palace, the university, and Parliament. It was only in 1888, after Henrik Ibsen and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson both had won great international acclaim, that the permission to build the new National Theatre in Studenterlunden was granted – on the condition that the roof could not be higher than the university, and the entrance could not point towards it.