Russian Drama Theatre

Address: Tallinn, 10141, Vabaduse väljak 5
Phone: (+372) 6114 911; (+372) 6114 963
Fax: (+372) 6114 999

The roots of Russian theatre in Tallinn go back to the relatively small Russian community of the late 19th century. Theatricals received a boost after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, when many Russian actors found refuge in the newly independent Estonia. No group reached a fully professional status, however. Part of the reason may be that the annual tours of the strong Russian theatre of the capital of neighbouring Latvia, Riga, also covered Estonia. A professional Russian theatre was founded in Tallinn only under Soviet occupation, in December 1948. It received the building of a former cinema in the centre of the city; its troupe was formed by a graduating group of a Moscow theatre school. During its more than 50 years the Russian Drama Theatre has produced ca 500 plays, mostly by Russian authors, but also translations, including some Estonian plays; the latter have often been staged by Estonian directors. In Soviet years the theatre travelled widely in various parts of the empire. The re-establishment of Estonian independence fundamentally changed the position of the company from one of the numerous Russian theatres of the Soviet Union into the only professional Russian troupe of a small nation. Consequently it is paying more attention to local audiences, among other things by producing more plays for children in order to raise future spectators. Ten to twelve new titles are staged each year, mostly in the 661-seat big auditorium, but sometimes also in the 70-seat small hall.

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