The TNSJ is an Entrepreneurial Public Entity (E.P.E.) whose main public service objectives are the creation and presentation of various genres of theatre shows, in accordance with standards of artistic and technical excellence, as well as bringing audiences into regular contact with classic and contemporary reference works from the Portuguese and universal dramatic repertoire.

Positive in its belief that theatre is the par excellence art of embodying and conveying the word, the TNSJ is fully committed to championing Portuguese-spoken drama and the Portuguese language at large, in both its standard form and its polymorphy, dialectal variants included. This priority runs through its programs of acting workshops and direction of actors, and is also observable in its demands concerning the quality of texts, be they originals or translations.

Intent on captivating and cultivating new audiences, the TNSJ opens its doors to the community, in an effort to harmonise its search for a special vocation for communicability in its shows with a spirit of renewal and contemporaneity in terms of its scenic approach and the objective of raising the critical standards of its audiences. Besides being a member of the Union of the Theatres of Europe and organising the PoNTI 鈥 Porto. Natal. Teatro. Internacional. festival, the TNSJ is also committed to achieving the internationalisation of its theatrical productions and establishing an earnest partnership with the European theatre scene at large. Some of its projects involve foreign collaborations, interchanging production duties with similar entities in other countries and organising or participating in international festivals.

The TNSJ鈥檚 activities also comprise the co-production of theatre projects with other artistic production organisms, including those that favour touring within the Portuguese network of playhouses, thus furthering cultural decentralisation. Its programming likewise features spectacles produced by other structures and companies that fit in with the objectives of its artistic project and allow for the development of new theatrical values and aesthetics.

Another objective of the TNSJ is to further the advancement of all the artistic elements and technical staff members involved in its activity, as well as the dignity of the stage crafts and of the means of theatrical production and communication. Specially important within these parameters is the formation work carried out with an almost-in-residence cast, with a view to achieve a maturation of performative languages, which has led to the creation, within the TNSJ鈥檚 premises, of a kind of informal academy that is currently the finest in Portugal.

The TNSJ structure comprises Teatro Nacional S茫o Jo茫o (headquarters building), Teatro Carlos Alberto and the S茫o Bento da Vit贸ria Monastery.