Last Updated: 08 June 2017

Vene 6, Tallinn, 10123 Estonia
Phone: +372 646 40 80
Reg. No. 80070776 Account No. 1120045504 in Swedbank

Executive director: Kristiina Oomer
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bookkeeper: Triinu Heinvars

The Estonian Amateur Theatre Association (EHL) was created in 1989 as an independent national non-governmental organization when it during the process of democratization grew out of the Department for Folk Culture of the Ministry of Culture which is still the basis of the amateur theatre organizations in Latvia and Lithuania.

The mission of EHL is to support the development of those who appreciate intellectual values and who work with expression of these through theatre.

EHL major task is to offer training programs, organize theatre festivals and communicate with other countries - more than 200 events every year. By now approx. 400 amateur theatre groups are in Estonia (school-, drama-, Russian-, puppet, music- and handicap theatre groups), all together 16000 participants. Estonia, with a population of merely 1,34 million has 10 professional theatres, sponsored by state governments and municipalities. Recently considerable semi- professional theatres have been established.

Under soviet rule most of the amateur theatres employed a professional producer, stage-designer, sound- and lighting specialist, who were paid for theatre work. Now our theatre amateurism is approaching amateurism in the true sense of the word. A play is staged without financial support, actors themselves produce their costumes and properties. To employ professional support by sponsors and funds is searched for. Also expected profit plans, part of the soviet planned economy, exists no longer. Earlier theatres were obliged to perform ideological and soviet dramaturgy. Now, as Estonia has joined the international copyright convention it is difficult to get a performance authorization.

In Estonia a fund Cultural Endowment of Estonia allocates approx. 90 millions Estonian crowns a year to professional as well as amateur artists.

Since 1991 EHL has been a member of International Amateur Theatre Association (IATA), whose office moved to Tallinn in 1998. Since 1998 our association established together with Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania new IATA/AITA region - NEATA - North-European Amateur Theatre Alliance.

The most important events have been a theatre project "Circulus-93", open-air shows in Mahtra, Lelle, Palamuse, Mooste, Rõuge, Koguva, theatre festivals in Haapsalu, Kuressaare, Viljandi, Tallinn, Jõgeva, summer training camps in Ranna. Theatre projects were leaded by Merle Karusoo, Rein Agur, Toomas Lõhmuste, Kaarel Kilvet, Ain Mäeots, Aare Laanemets, Ivo Eensalu, Ingo Normet, Raivo Adlas, Ellu Puudist, Jaanus Rohumaa etc. Regular advanced training courses (co-operation with Folk Culture Center). Since 1993 we participate in international theatre projects and training programs. Estonian amateur theatre groups have taken part in theatre festivals in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belorussia, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Mexico, Kirgizia, Spain etc. Estonian amateur theatres have each year more than 7000 shows. EHL is a member of North-European Amateur Theatre Alliance (NEATA), Estonian Non-formal Adult Education Association (ENAEA) and Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations.

From year to year amateur theatre festivals are organized in all 15 counties of Estonia, where the best theatre groups are selected and sent to state or international theatre events. Every year there are 30 local festivals will be held in Estonia. Those festivals will be a meeting ground of street-, absurd-, puppet-, teachers- and children theatres. With financial support by the state and several funds we organize regular seminars and training weeks for pupils.

Our amateur theatre activities are led and coordinated by the Estonian Amateur Theatre Association. That is headed by democratically elected council and president. For the coordination of everyday work 3 persons are employed: executive director, coordinator of school groups and training programmes and bookkeeper.

Our association shares rooms with Tallinna Rahvaülikool, which has a municipal authority.