Greece's first state theatre company was the Royal Theatre, which opened in 1901 and operated until 1908, when it closed indefinitely. The National Theatre was founded in 1930 by the Minister of Education, George Papandreou. For many years it operated as a public entity.
In 1994, the National Theatre became a non-profit organisation known in English as the Greek National Theatre.
Its remit is, through theatre, to promote culture and preserve Greek cultural identity.Chief among its specific areas of interest are:
- The study and research of ancient drama, and its staging and dissemination in Greece and abroad.
- The staging, promotion and development of Greek and especially modern Greek playwriting.
- The staging and interpretation of classic works.
- The study and investigation of new theatrical forms and experimental modes of expression.
- Productions for children and young people.
- Theatrical training through the creation of a Drama School.
- The promotion of international theatrical exchanges and co-operation, especially in Europe and countries with large Greek populations.
- Support and encouragement for people working in the theatre in Greece.