The only French National Theatre located outside Paris
Successor of the Centre Dramatique de l'Est, itself created in 1946, the TNS was established in 1968 and is the only French National Theatre to be found outside Paris. It incoporates a permanent troupe of actors and its drama school, the Ecole supérieure d'arts dramatiques.
Performances are staged in two locations. The main one, in avenue de la Marseillaise, houses two auditoriums, salle Bernard- Marie Koltès and salle Hubert Gignoux, while the smaller space Klaus Michael Grüber, 18, rue Jacques Kablé, contains the Studio Grüber and the Hall Grüber.
The TNS's prime vocation is that of creation and it has a particular leaning towards European theatre. On average, the TNS puts on about 15 productions per season, including creations and revivals with its permanent troupe as well as a number of co-productions. Each season also sees guest productions by visiting companies, including foreign-language productions, with French subtitles. In total, the TNS stages about 180 performances per season. The theatre's programming underlines its originality and emphasises the power and diversity of words and the skills of the actors. The TNS also frequently stages contemporary revivals of classic plays.
Seat of the Parliament of Alsace-Lorraine, Landtag and then a conservatory
The building that houses the TNS is located opposite the Imperial Palace, built to represent the power of the Reichsland (1871 to 1918), and marks the start of the Neustadt. It was built between 1888 and 1892, in neo-Renaissance style by architects August Hartel and Skjold Neckelmann, initially as the seat of the Parliament of Alsace-Lorraine, later to become the Landtag after the Constitutional reform of 1911. In 1918, the building was turned into a conservatory which staged plays and other performances in what used to be the debating chamber.
Extensive rebuilding (1952 to 1955) was required following the bombing of 1944 and the new building contained a concert hall and a theatre/rehearsal room for the Centre Dramatique de l’Est. In 1970, in addition to work on the main stage, a second auditorium was built, while the drama school's premises underwent significant renovation.