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Latvian National Theatre

The ornate edifice that is home to the National Theatre company had its grand opening in 1902. Designed specifically for the theatre arts byAugusts Reinbergs, it is a prime example of the Eclecticism style and is an architectural and cultural landmark of national importance.  

Back in days, the building was the epitome of electric power, with its four chandeliers in the foyer, 428 lamps in the auditorium, 2,879 white, 180 red, 180 green lamps for the stage, and two corner spots for special effects. A technical wonder in its time, it featured an ingenious ventilation/conditioning system that lasted well into the second half of the 20th century.

The building initially housed the Riga City 2nd Theater [Riga Russian Theatre], later for a short period – the Workers' Theatre company.

The founding of the Latvian National Theatre occurred in the fall of 1919. During the years of Soviet occupation, it was given the name: the Andrejs Upītis' Latvian SSR State Academic Drama Theatre [abbr.: Drama Theatre]. In 1988, the company regained its original name.

The building, specifically its stage, was the scene of the crucial moment in Latvian history – the proclamation of the free and independent Latvian nation on November 18, 1918. Each year on the very stage, marking Independence Day, a special ceremony and concert is held.

Featuring a satisfying mix of the classic and contemporary, the National Theatre players perform every day. Its roster of directors include numerous foreigners. The company carries out the functions of a national cultural centre, offering audiences the latest in the theatre arts in both form and content, accenting the “national” (e.g., Latvian playwrights).

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