Teatro Nacional São João

Teatro Nacional de São João
Teatro Nacional São João


By initiative of Chief Magistrate Francisco de Almada e Mendonça and a group of private investors, the Real Teatro de São João was built from a project by Italian scenographer and architect Vincenzo Mazzoneschi. Officially inaugurated on May 13, 1798, it was the first building in Porto to be specifically conceived for the presentation of stage shows.

The Real Teatro de São João’s activity would eventually turn to the universe of Italian opera, presenting all the performances of that genre in Porto until the end of the 19th century. In April of 1908, a fire destroyed the building, but in October of that same year, a public competition for its rebuilding was launched, which was won by a draft of José Marques da Silva, once described as “Porto’s last classical and first modern architect”. In spite of budgetary restraints, the architect was able to combine ostentation and efficiency, successfully integrating purely architectural aspects with constructive ones. He employed an innovative technique, using concrete for the basic structure and cement mortars for the decorations.

At the time it was built, the Teatro de São João combined technical innovation with a stylistic prolongation of traditional taste. In 1932, only twelve years after its opening (March, 1920), and in keeping with the general decadence of Porto’s theatrical activity, it changed its name to São João Cine, operating from then on basically as a cinema. Progressively, the building fell into disrepair.

Finally, it was bought by the Portuguese State on October 1992, and opened to the public one month later, now officially named Teatro Nacional São João. After a process of restoration, renovation and refurbishment, which took place from 1993 to 1995, under the guidance of architect João Carreira, it resumed its regular artistic activity. 

Teatro Nacional São João

Praça da Batalha.
4000-102 Porto
+ 351 22 340 19 00
+ 351 22 208 83 03

Tuesday to Saturday 2AM-7PM (or until 10PM, performance days) | Sunday 2PM-5PM

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