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Estonian theatre in numbers 2006

01.09.2007 19:37

Today there are in average 50 companies in Estonia produce new performances in a year. There are 27 theatres and theatre companies in Estonia 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 companies. 13 of them have stationary repertory (incl. one with three genre – spoken-music-dance theatre, and one with two genre – music-dance theatre). Also this number includes Russian theatre. Rest of 27 are either project-based or small theatres.

There are 8 theatre towns in Estonia (Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Viljandi, Rakvere, Narva, Kuressaare, Võru). In 2006 there were more than 190 stationary and non-stationary locations for performances 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 theatres and handicap theatre groups) in Estonia.

Financing (All the numbers below are based on Estonian Theatre Statistics 2006)

Estonian theatres receive direct support from the state budget (the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Gambling Tax Council). The state support forms 65% of all incomes, the profit that theatres get from selling tickets is on average 21% and local governments give 4%.


In 2006 there were 408 productions in the repertory, 172 (42%) of them were new productions. Estonian authors wrote 45 % of the plays in the last year repertory. Most of foreign authors are from Russia with 52 playwrights, followed by Great Britain with 38, USA with 24 and France with 14 authors.

In 2006 89 Estonian theatre productions were performed abroad, mostly in Germany, in Finland and in Russia. Last year 121 directors directed in Estonia, 20 of them were guest directors from abroad.

The most preferred genre of the spoken performances was drama with 63%, then comes comedy with 28%, 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 are only children and youth. All the other repertory theatres and few small theatres produce children performances also though their main target audience are adults. In 2006 repertory for children
there were 93 productions of which 29 were new.

Most popular form for children is spoken performance with 50%. Puppet theatre gains 28 %. 58 % of texts for children in 2006`s repertory were written by Estonian authors.

The most directed genre in Estonian music theatre is opera (46 % of all performances), it is the audience magnet as well. Musical is also important genre for the audience. 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 especially for summer performances. Most of summer projects find new and interesting performance places somewhere in nature. In the summer of 2006, there were 45 summer productions, 35 of them were new.

Visiting theatre

In 2006 the average number of performances per day was 12,7 and average number of theatregoers was 2527 persons every day. 4655 performances were given, 2477 of them in Tallinn. 72 % of them were on stationary stage.

748 786 theatregoers visited theatre in seven theatre towns, 151 752 visitors watched performances in counties.

Performance formNumber of Productions