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Straw Theatre

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The idea to build a theatre building-installation that would create an effect not only by way of its function but also through its form, idea and material has taken shape in the minds of several different people for quite some time already. For instance, the German director Christoph Schlingensief managed before his death to initiate a project according to which a small opera village would be built in the middle of Africa. Preparations are underway and there is hope.

Yet a few years ago, Peeter Jalakas started dreaming about a kind of theatre that would be made of straw. There was poetry in that dream. Moreover, energy conservational building methods began gaining in popularity just around that time. The idea of a theatre made of straw sprouted its first roots.

Ene-Liis Semper took the baton since she has always been interested in different spatial experiences. The idea of a black cube suddenly appearing in the middle of Tallinn’s city centre inspired her. And indeed – this kind of object would not only be a landmark. Rather, it would be an experience that would decisively displace the spatial relationships and spatial experience of a city. Something that should not exist according to urbanist logic nevertheless exists. Theatre NO99 understood Semper’s plans. From that point onward, they proceeded together.

Thus from the very beginning, the idea of the Straw Theatre proceeded from the idea to create an installation, to displace the spatial experience of Tallinners compared to what it has been thus far. The idea of straw was added to it – ordinary building material that embodies within it archetypical power along with the beauty of texture. The Skoone Bastion: a place that has waited a long time for some sort of ritual happening, something that would break the reclusion it has hitherto been in. In addition, the need for a new kind of public space: not an area occupied by kiosks selling kebabs or ecological goods,
but rather a public space under trees with a view of the sea and lined with a playground,
an outlet for borrowing books, a big chess board and a little café, public space where everyone can feel good and free to do as they please. And additionally the theatre as well: if this kind of installation and this kind of public space is already being created,
a shot of contemporary culture should also come with the deal. Why not try to invite those artists from all over the world and from Estonia who have inspired, captivated and delighted the members of NO99 Theatre to come here for the summer? Why not create
a place where we ourselves would like to be every day? Why not the Straw Theatre?

All these ideas were topped off by the last idea: the idea of the Straw Theatre as a temporary building. It will last for only five months. Thus: time is limited. Whatever happens here this summer will never happen again. What was today will not be tomorrow. We come to Skane, build a building, we bring children here to play, we bring gurus to make and display art, and when autumn arrives we’ll pack up our things again, dismantle the Straw Theatre and go back to our former lives. There is the sadness of creation and the beauty of departure in all this.