All of Tallinn’s a stage

  • 2011-04-13
  • By Laurence Boyce

ON STAGE: Diversity is the word at this year’s theatrical program in Tallinn.

TALLINN - After filling the winter months with film, opera, art and music, spring sees the theater program arrive in the European Capital of Culture 2011. There are certainly lofty ambitions for this year’s theatrical program as it encompasses a new production, new festival and new theater house.
Jaanus Rohumaa, the head of the program team of Tallinn 2011 foundation, said: “The theater program of the European Capital of Culture aims to transform the Estonian theater scene to become more international and to offer the local theater people an opportunity to work with internationally renowned stars. In addition to new venues the stages will be filled with new plays, music productions and topics.”

Up first will be Johanna Emanuelsson’s play “Watch, I’m falling,” one of four plays that won New Baltic Drama 2011, a competition organized by Tallinn and Turku (the Finnish city, which is also designated the European Capital of Culture during 2011). The play deals with the subject of the generation of young people who have grown up in a world saturated by the media and their ambitions to change the world. Directed by Diana Leesalu, a student of Estonian Academy of Music and Theater, the play promises to be a timely examination of an era governed by social network and 24 hour media. At the other end of the spectrum “… magic and striking stunts, tamed monsters, ventriloquists, fire and water…” are promised for “The Dancing Tower,” a fusion of dance, physical theater and music. Beginning its run in Turku, the play will arrive in Estonia for performances in Katel during June.

Diversity will also be prevalent from April 20, as the performing arts festival POT (standing for Pageant! Off! Theater!) will come to various venues around Tallinn, mixing many different disciplines for the entertainment of audiences across the city. Highlights include a remixed and solo version of “The Magic Flute” that explores the period of history between the birth of Mozart and the modern day that is sure to be an ambitious delight. Also look out for Cabaret Rhizome’s performance of “Avatar,” a play that uses the title of James Cameron’s global smash hit movie to juxtapose the differences between our experiences of special effects laden entertainment and the simplicity of nature. Indeed, the entire festival promises to question the nature of theater and performance and for those of you who used to experience a typical two act play once or twice a year should try the POT Festival to expand your knowledge of the rich variety of performance art and theater.

If that doesn’t excite the theater lover inside you enough, then the NO99 Straw Theater will open its doors at the end of April. Very much doing what it says on the tin (i.e. it’s a theater made out of straw designed by Estonian Architects from Salto Ab Ou – watch out for big, bad wolves), it promises a unique environment in which numerous different performances – including an experimental version of “The Cherry Orchard” and an adaptation of Michael Cimino’s harrowing film “The Deer Hunter” – will once again delight audiences with the sheer diversity of what theater has to offer. “This is the craziest and most fun project we have done,” says Eero Epner from NO99. “To invite artists, who have inspired us and to create an environment around the Straw Theater where we want to spend every day – this summer is pure luxury for us.” The theater with an impressive program from Estonian and international artists will remain open until the end of September.

With the amount of theater performances on offer, it’s also a luxury for culture loving audiences in Tallinn.

For more information about the performances and event program please visit