A THEATRE OF PORTO, OF PORTUGAL, OF EUROPE
Teatro Nacional São João is the product of the initiative of the CITY OF PORTO. Both the original Real Teatro de São João, destroyed by fire in 1908, and its reincarnation, which opened on 7 March 1920 (and is today a National Monument), were built by the elites, associations and general population of Porto. That feeling of belonging is renewed daily, both through the public’s adhesion to our shows and through the love the people of Porto feel for their built heritage. It became of PORTUGAL in 1992, the year in which the building was purchased by the Portuguese State and underwent in-depth renovation works. The Ministry of Culture made it the first National Theatre of democratic Portugal, an essential part of a policy of cultural decentralisation in the country’s North. The TNSJ quickly became a vibrant artistic project and a reputed stage production structure, combining the divulgation of the most important Portuguese and international dramatic works with the latest developments in stage art. Presently, the TNSJ is also a THEATRE OF EUROPE. Besides a strong relationship with many Portuguese entities – other public theatres, independent companies, artists, schools and universities –, it is now engaged in an inquisitive and demanding relationship with the universe of European theatre, as a member of the Union of the Theatres of Europe, the historic Art Theatre network founded by Giorgio Strehler. The TNSJ, which also includes Teatro Carlos Alberto and the São Bento da Vitória Monastery, is first and foremost a stage, in other words, a house for theatrical creation, but the scope of its action is broad, comprising projects aimed at school-age publics, a publishing program of recognised merit, a relevant documental source in the performing arts field and a special investment in providing easy accessibility to all our patrons. Its first centenary accomplished, the TNSJ is today an ELITE THEATRE FOR ALL.
ONE THEATRE, THREE HOUSES Currently, the activities of the TNSJ take place in several buildings, on emblematic areas of Porto. Quite different from one another, these spaces contribute towards the plural quality of this National Theatre, fulfilling distinct but complementary purposes. Designed by Marques da Silva, who drew inspiration from French architecture of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the centenary SÃO JOÃO is a remarkable piece of Portuguese theatrical-architectural heritage. This Neoclassical building was made with modern construction techniques, employing concrete and cement mortars to create its basic structure as well as its exterior finishes and decorations. Purchased by the Portuguese State in the early 1990, it was then restored and refurbished. Today, it hosts the TNSJ productions, as well as shows from other major theatres. Inaugurated in 1897, TEATRO CARLOS ALBERTO was named after the exiled Sardinian king who had come to live in a mansion in Porto, in whose garden the theatre was built. A space with a strong presence in the city’s collective memory, TeCA (which was known for a while as Auditório Nacional Carlos Alberto) was, in the early 2000s, the subject of a full renovation, in accordance with a project by Nuno Lacerda Lopes, and placed under the management of the TNSJ. Besides hosting our Educational Centre, TeCA is also a privileged platform for several Portuguese and foreign stage productions. Built during the 17th and 18th centuries, the SÃO BENTO DA VITÓRIA MONASTERY is the largest religious edifice in Porto. An important part of this National Monument – namely its magnificent Main Cloister – is managed by the TNSJ, whose Documentation Centre is now placed in it, as well as a permanent exhibition of stage designs and costumes. More than a performance hall, the Monastery offers the TNSJ a major space for experimentation and rehearsal, as well as providing guided tours to the São Bento da Vitória Church, a building of great architectural and ornamental beauty.
Union des Théâtres de l'Europe gathered, in the last 3 decades, some of the most important European theatres and artists. Through festivals, exhibitions, exchanges, masterclasses, cooperation projects, the UTE help create a continuous flow between West and East, between generations, between tradition and innovation. Our celebration is inspired by this rich history. With the help of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, we wish to remember some of the best performances presented at past editions of the UTE festival and look forward to new horizons.