Today there is an average of 50 companies in Estonia that produce new performances in a year. There are 26 theatres and theatre companies in Estonia that 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. 11 of them have stationary repertory (incl. one with three genres – spoken, music and dance theatre, and one with two genres – music and dance theatre). This number also includes Russian theatre. Rest of them are project-based, private theatres or production houses.
There are 7 theatre towns in Estonia (Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Viljandi, Rakvere, Narva, Kuressaare). In 2016 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.
(All the numbers below are based on Estonian Theatre Statistics 2016)
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 5%.
In 2016 there were 540 productions in the repertory, 196 (36,3 %) of them were new productions. Estonian authors wrote 47% of the plays in the last year repertory.
|Performance by genre||Number of Productions|
|Puppet and object theatre||44|
|Other (Cross-type and circus)||66|
The most preferred genre of the spoken performances was drama 70%, then comes comedy 24% and then tragicomedy 6%.
In 2016 repertory for children and teenagers, there were 146 productions of which 41 were new.
The most directed genre in Estonian music theatre is opera, which is the audience magnet. Musicals are also an important genre for the audience.
Within the last years, both modern and classical the dance theatre has gained more popularity, though modern dance is dominating.
There are six theatres in Estonia whose target audience are only children and youth. All the other repertory theatres and few private theatres rarely produce children performances, because their main target audience is adults.
There were 77 summer productions (performed from the end of May to the end of August, mostly outside of the theatre buildings: in nature, parks, manor or farmhouses, castles etc.) in the year 2017, out of which 37 new productions. Summer theatre performances have become very popular, the number increases every summer. They are produced by both: repertory theatres and projects brought together especially for summer performances.
There were 6 573 performances (3 495 of them in Tallinn) of which 61 % were on stationary stage. In 2016 the average number of performances per day was 18 and an average number of theatregoers was 3250 persons every day, it means one performance has 180,5 visitors on average.
84% (998 954) theatregoers visited the theatre in six theatre towns and 13% (153 268) visitors watched performances in counties.
Performances of 66 productions were played abroad in 25 different countries. Estonian theatres visited festivals and gave guest performances in theatres of Finland, Russia, Sweden, Germany, France, Lithuania, Belgium etc.