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NO99 project "Straw Theatre" visualization. Publicity picture

But when asked about Straw Theater, Eero began to speak with an undivided thrill, and his exhaustion dissipated for a moment.

Anna Iltnere: How did this idea come about, and how did it develop to its being actualized in the center of Tallinn, what is more, as one of the most extensive events of Tallinn – European Capital of Culture 2011?

Eero Epner: We’ve been working on the idea for two years, perhaps even longer. Our initial thought was to built an installation in the center of the city. Not a culture center, but a work of art. Ene-Liis is a video and installation artist, as well as the creator of the idea. We chose straw not just for ecological reason, but also on account of the popularity of the material, because more and more straw summer cottages are being built in Estonia today. It’s an inexpensive raw material, and it embodies various pleasant associations. Unlike rock, which is simply rock, straw has…I don’t want to say “soul,” because that sounds too romantic…but it radiates warmth. This original idea is still important, because it’s important for us that the structure isn’t simply a functional structure, but also an installation in the urban environment. The second stage in implementing Straw Theater was to find an actual, public space in the very center of Tallinn. Skoone Bastion, by the Old City with a view of the sea, was closed to the community during the Soviet period; that’s why it’s still a forgotten part of Tallinn. We struck upon the idea to reintroduce residents to this area and to implement a creative zone that was free of consumption. The third stage was to actually do something in the installation/house we had created; that’s why we invited theater troupes, musicians, and artists. Straw Theater consists of a central building—a closed black box—with a corridor and terrace. Special sites have been set up for various activities: Ping-Pong, a children’s playground, open-air chess with gigantic chess pieces, etc.

What can be viewed for free, and which events have an entrance fee?

During the day, Straw Theater is open and freely accessible to everyone. We will also feature film screenings and other outdoor projects. Tickets must be purchased for the evening events, concerts, and theater productions. These can be purchased online. 

What are the must-see events at Straw Theater this summer?

As the organizers, we want to emphasize each and every addition to the program. But the biggest project is definitely the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, from New York, which is incredibly popular in Europe right now.