Åbo Svenska Theater
|Address||Eerikinkatu 13, 20100
|Owner||Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi|
|Capacity||365 Main Stage (2 levels), 136 Studio|
Åbo Svenska Theater (Åbo Svenska Teater) is a Finland-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. Swedish travelling theatre troupes visited the city from the 18th-century and forwards, such as the Stenborg Troupe in the 1760s, the troupe of Carl Gottfried Seuerling in the 1780s and the troupe of Margareta Seuerling, who became the first theatre troupe permanently residing in Finland; and in 1813, the first theatre house was founded by 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 been 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 has three formal stages; Stora Scenen, with 365 seats, Studioscenen with 136 seats, and Tiljan-scenen, with a maximum of one hundred seats, as well as local activity.
- Description of performance spaces, official site (in Swedish)
- Georg Nordensvan, "Svensk teater och svenska skådespelare".
- Tryggve Byström "Svenska komedien 1737-1754"