SAMKOMUHÚSIÐ and RÝMIÐ

SAMKOMUHÚSIÐ

Samkomuhúsið, Hafnarstræti, is one of the most elegant buildings in the country, built at the turn of the 20th century. Not only is it one of Akureyri´s landmarks, the building was the scene of a remarkable chapter in Iceland´s theater history-over a century of local acting tradition.

The building is owned by the Municipality of Akureyri. The operation of the Akureyri Theater Company started there and has remained. Use of the building is part of the Municipality of Akureyri’s support to the company. 

The lodges Trúföst og Ísold had the building built in 1906. Construction began that Spring and Guðlaugur Guðmundsson, the town magistrate, initiated the building on December 23. It was built swiftly with every bit being built with hand tools. Including interior furniture, the total cost of the building was 28500 IKR. The leaders of the building’s construction were head carpenters Guðmundur Björnsson and Guðmundur Ólafsson from Steinhóll in Skagafjarðarsýsla.

The municipality contributed by cosigning loans and renting the first floor of the building as a study hall, library, and meeting space. The municipality later bought the building from the teetollers in 1917.

The inaugural performance “Adventure Walk” (Ævintýri á Gönguför) was premièred on January 20, 1907, the director being the town magistrate himself, Guðlaugur Guðmundsson. In 1907, admission profits went directly to the new theater. An actual theater company was not operating in Akureyri, but individuals and groups nonetheless performed for local audiences.

The first Akureyri Theater Company was founded a year later in 1908 and since then theater operations have been almost continuous in the building.

The main theater hall of Samkomuhúsið was one of Akureyri´s most popular places of entertainment. The building was likely the biggest theater in the country at the beginning of the 20th century. Back then, much like now, there were balconies on three sides (left and right and in the north end of the hall). Audience benches were also on the balconies where there is now only a walking area. Pillars supporting the balconies had curved edges and above the stage, everything was painted in a decorative style.

In addition to performances and events the hall was also used for elections both for the municipality and for Alþingi (the congress).