Åbo Svenska Teater

Åbo Svenska Teater is a Finnish-Swedish theatre in the city of Turku in Finland and the oldest theatre in the country, founded in 1839. The building itself is also the oldest still functioning theatre house in Finland. The name means "The Swedish theatre of Åbo"; Åbo is the Swedish name of the city of Turku.


Turku was during Finland's age as a part of Sweden the centre of Finland, and the rapid development of the theatre in Sweden during the age of king Gustav III of Sweden arose the interest for theatre also in Finland. From the 1700s, Swedish travelling theatre troupes visited the city, such as the Stenborg Troupe in the 1760s, the troupe of Carl Gottfried Seuerling in 1780-1790 and Margareta Seuerling, whos troupe became the first theatre troupe permanetly residing in Finland, and in 1813, the first theatre house was founded K. G. Bonnevier by permission of the Russian czar (as Finland had then became a part of Russia), were his troupe performed until 1827.

The theatre has ben located in its present building since 1839, when it was opened with the play Gubben i Bergsbygden the 21 January 1839. During the 19th century, the theatre did not have a permanent staff, as Finland did not have any native actors at this point; the actors consisted of travelling Swedish troupes, which toured both Sweden and Finland, of which one of the most notable was the troupe of Pierre Deland, which performed regularly on this theatre in the 1840s and 1850s. The first native actors performed in the theatre in 1872, though it was not to be until 1894, that the first complete troupe entirely of native actors performed here.

The theatre building is owned by Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi and it is run by Åbo Svenska Teaterförening.

The theatre has four formal stages; Stora Scenen, with three hundred seats, Studioscenen with one hundred seats, and Tiljan-scenen, also with one hundred seats, as well as local activity.

External links and sources

  • Georg Nordensvan, "Svensk teater och svenska skådespelare".
  • Tryggve Byström "Svenska komedien 1737-1754"

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