The series of comedies written from 1722-1728 by Danish dramatist Ludvig Holberg laid the foundations of modern Danish theatre. His works were staged in the ‘Comedy House’ (Commediehuus) in Copenhagen’s Lille Grønnegade.
In 1748, a small group of actors paid tribute to Holberg's achievement by forming their own company, the Royal Danish Theatre. When the theatre opened, the ensemble comprised just eight actors and four actresses who performed two French comedies. Initially, the Royal Danish Theatre was under the patronage of the king; later, it became the national theatre of Denmark. Today, the Royal Danish Theatre is both the theatre located at Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen and a performing arts organisation.
The Royal Danish Theatre now not only presents drama at a number of locations, but also opera, the Royal Danish Ballet, and classical music concerts (given by the Royal Danish Orchestra, which dates back to 1448).
The locations include the Old Stage in the original Royal Danish Theatre, built in 1748, the new, purpose-built facility at the Copenhagen Opera House (Operaen), and the Stærekassen, an Art Deco theatre adjacent to the main theatre.
The latest venue to be added to this list is the Skuespilhuset, the Royal Danish Playhouse, which is now Denmark’s new national stage for the dramatic arts.
The new playhouse has been custom designed to ensure audiences can enjoy the ultimate in theatrical experience. The Royal Danish Playhouse's setting with a waterfront foyer, promenade and footbridge terrace also enlarges the spectrum of the programme. Apart from regular seasonal repertoires, the Playhouse hosts public lectures, children’s activities, small concerts and a wide range of dramatic events.
The theatre is under the Danish Ministry of Culture, which wholeheartedly supports the aim of staging outstanding performances. The Royal Danish Theatre's artistic director is Emmet Feigenberg and the managing director is Erik Jacobsen.