The Finnish National Theater is situated in the very heart of Helsinki - in Rautatientori Square. Being founded in 1872 as the first Finnish-language professional theatre, the National Theater is the oldest theater in Finland. The current building of the theater was constructed in 1897-1902 to the project by architect Onni Tarjanne in the national Romanticism style. Its exterior was designed as a castle with turrets, columns, arched windows and red tiled roofs.
The theatre moved to this building in 1902, when it also acquired the name of Finnish National Theatre. It was never to become a state-owned theatre however. The theatre is owned by a private foundation and nominates its own Director. In 1954, the theatre expanded to include a second stage which was chiefly used for performing modern drama. A third stage was built in 1976, and a fourth, the smallest, in 1987. The second and third stages are used for experimental performances.
Nowadays the Finnish National Theater stays the leading drama theater of the country. On its stages the guests can see modern and classical dramas from the world and national repertoire. Such plays as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire, plays by Finnish writers Paavo Westerberg and Raija Talvio are performed on the scenes of the theater.
The theater focuses on the national traditions, all performances are held in Finnish. The Finnish National Theater is a member of the European Theater Union.