Vaba Lava (Open Stage) creates new opportunities for the performing arts

SA Vaba Lava (Open Stage Foundation) was brought to life in May 2010 with the goal of providing a platform for independent companies active in all areas of the performing arts – a platform of the finest quality. In Estonia, there are many top companies that do not have the opportunity to perform on the big stages of the capital, use professional sound and lighting equipment, build sumptuous stage sets or even rehearse properly. Vaba Lava would like to grant them that opportunity. To offer a home for independent companies and to function as a support organization to project theatres that have proven their artistic merit.

In order to achieve all this, the plan is to establish a theatre facility with two stages and rehearsal halls at the Telliskivi Loomelinnak, due to open at the beginning of 2012. According to Kaarel Oja, chief executive of Vaba Lava, this in the long run could go on to create similar organizations to provide venues and technical equipment as necessary in other parts of Estonia. “In many countries in Europe and Scandinavia these types of theatre facilities exist and operate well. In the future, the plan is to move beyond Estonia and invite companies from other countries,” explains Oja.

Vaba Lava is an excellent means for future cross-border co-operation. “For example, a director from Bergen could come and realize his or her idea at a Vaba Lava venue using Estonian actors and actresses,” says Oja, illustrating the desire to provide the scope for international encounters. In his opinion, the performing arts are becoming more and more international. “Culture is viable if it is in constant development and a prerequisite for development is international mobility. Observe what your neighbour is doing and invite your neighbour here to see you. This is certainly part of our plan at Vaba Lava” he continues.

To completely realise the Vaba Lava success story, there is a plan to pay more attention to the appearance and public image of the venue itself. “Vaba Lava’s own brand has to be strong, because its repertoire will be diverse,” explains Oja. Sufficient investment right from day one will guarantee that we are visible to everyone.

The capacity of Vaba Lava is intended to be at least 200 events a year, which would entail an estimated 30 thousand visits. The theatre venue will offer new opportunities for existing companies and theatres, but also to those yet to be born.