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Theatres in Tallinn

Tallinn's offer as far as concerns theatres is good. Many performances are in Estonian language but there are also performances in English. To get informed on the performances it is possible to refer to Tallinn in Your Pocket (a free press review in English, usually distributed in the hotels) or to the different theatres websites.

Here you can find a short history of Tallinn City Theatre, which is considered a real “flagship” of Estonian Theatrical Art.

Linnateater (Tallinn City Theatre) - www.linnateater.ee


Located in the Old Town, it was founded in 1965 by the famous Estonian Director Voldemar Panso. He created company of actors, among whom there were both young graduates of the theatre school and well known actors. The new theatre was named the Estonian Youth Theatre. For a long time the troupe had to manage without a theatre building, the first productions were created for touring.

Starting from 1966 a clubhouse at Salme street in the outskirts of the city became the theatre's main stage. For costume, property and scenery workshops different locations were rented all over town. For office work and rehearsals the company was given a house at Lai 23 which is now known as the theatre's main building and which was for a long time the only working space that actually belonged to the theatre.

In 1975 the Small Stage was opened at the second floor of 23 Lai street and in 1983 the Chimney Room at the basement. A suitable building for the Estonian Youth Theatre was searched from the entire Old Town, but after a while the theatre leaders and architects-advisors started to think about the buildings and the inner court right next to 23 Lai street. In 1983 a decision was taken at the Tallinn Executive Committee that this is should be the location of the Youth Theatre's main stage. The new building was to be ready for the year 1990, for the theatre's 25th anniversary.

According to the soviet cultural policy the future theatre was to be named "Interclub" - a place to promote the cultural contacts between the soviet republics. In 1987 Rudolf Allabert became the theatre's artistic director and in the same year the blueprints for the new building were finished, but the times were changing, the "singing revolution" had begun and the construction works were dropped. The creative work at the theatre seemed also to be in a rut. The artistic and economic boom started in 1992 when two young and enthusiastic men took the lead of the theatre - Elmo Nüganen as the artistic director and Raivo Põldmaa as the general manager. They abandoned the "Interclub" project and focused on restoring the existing buildings. The theatre was renamed Tallinn City Theatre. One after another, interesting performance sites were taken to use.

In 1992 the first production was created at the attic of 19 Lai street where now is situated the Heaven Theatre. The director Madis Kalmet, looking for an unusual performance site, staged H. Mankell's "The Prince Of Fools" there. Also in 1992 Elmo Nüganen directed Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" at the medieval Diele which was nomally the place for the reception table, box office and wardrobe. In the summer of 1995 the inner court of Tallinn City Theatre was used for the first time. An open air stage was built and the first production - Elmo Nüganen's "The Three Musketeers" became so popular that it was played for three summers in a row.

For March 27th in 1999, the international day of theatre, the renovations at the 19 and 21 Lai street were finished and the Tallinn City Theatre moved to the new building with a big opening ceremony. The actors who had worked for 34 years in the narrow circumstances finally received large dressing rooms and a proper rehearsal room, new working spaces were created also for the make-up artists, dressers, accountants, administrators and many others.

The new wing contains two performance sites - the small and intimate Chamber Theatre and the big and modern Heaven Theatre which has room for up to 200 spectators. Regardless the size, the Heaven Theatre is a black box; also it is equipped with the most modern lighting and stage equipment. The last production to open at the City Theatre before the year 2000 was the opening production of the Heaven Theatre - William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", directed by Elmo Nüganen. Tallinn City Theatre's repertory has been well approved by both the audience and the critics. It contains world classics as well as modern drama. Attention is dedicated also to the new Estonian drama.

The artistic director Elmo Nüganen, one of the most esteemed theatre directors in Estonia, is known primarily by his productions of classics, such as William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet", Alexandre Dumas's "Three Musketeers" and "Musketeers – Twenty Years Later", Anton Chekhov's "Pianola or The Mechanical Piano", Feodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" and A. H. Tammsaare's "Thruth and Justice". Nüganen has surrounded himself with a talented, vigorous and young company of actors who can play in any genre or style. Currently the Tallinn City Theatre's resident company includes 26 actors.

(Source: Tallinna Linnateater)

Other Theatres in Tallinn:

Estonian National Opera  - www.concert.ee

Auditorium Estonia

Its program is undoubtedly the most various among the program offerded by Tallinn Theatres.
It also represents the location of the most important classical music concerts.

Drama Theatre - www.draamateater.ee
It is specialized in classical productions and performances.




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