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Estonian theatre in numbers 2005

01.09.2006 19:32

Today there are 24 theatres and theatre companies in Estonia who receive support from the budget of the Ministry of Culture. Among them are state subsidised repertory theatres, municipal theatres, non-profit small theatres, foundations and dance agencies. 12 of them have statsionary repertory (incl one three genre – spoken-music-dance – theatre and a Russian theatre), rest of them are either project-based or small theatres.

There are 7 theatre towns (Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Viljandi, Rakvere, Narva, Kuressaare), all together there are more than 160 locations to play in Estonia.

Estonian amateur theatre is well developed and provides high-level entertainment. There are up to 500 amateur theatre
groups (incl Russian, school, student, teachers and handicap theatre groups) in Estonia.

Financing (All the numbers below are based on Estonian Theatre Statistics 2005.)
Estonian theatres receive direct support from the state budget (the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Gambling Tax Council). The state support forms 67% of all incomes, the profit that theatres get from selling tickets is on average 22% and local governments give 3%.

Performance formNumber of Productions


In 2005 there were 350 productions in the repertory, 153 (44 %) of them were new productions. Only 26 % of plays in last year's repertory were written by Estonian authors. Most of foreign authors are from Great Britain with 30 playwrights, followed by Russia with 21 and USA with 17 authors.

In 2005 28 Estonian theatre productions were performed abroad, mostly Finland, Germany and Russia. Last year more than 65 directors directed in Estonia, 28 of them were guest directors from abroad.

The most preferred genre of the spoken performances was drama with 57%, then comes comedy with 32%, tragedy takes only 1%. Within last years the dance theatre both modern and classical has gained more popularity, though modern dance is dominating over classical.

There are six theatres in Estonia whose target audience is only children and youth. In addition all the repertory theatres and few small theatres produce children performances, too. In 2005´s repertory there were 86 productions for children, of which 31 were new. Most popular form is again spoken performance with 49%, puppet theatre gains 27 %. 57 % of texts for children in 2005`s repertory were written by Estonian authors.

The most directed genre in Estonian music theatre is opera (52 % of all performances), but the audience magnet appears to be musical.

Within last few years the summer performances have become very popular, the number of them increases with every summer. They are produced by both repertory theatres and projects brought together specially for summer performances. In summer 2005 there were 20 summer productions, 15 of them were new.