Considering the current situation with the spread of COVID-19 in the world, Tallinn City Theatre has postponed the next Midwinter Night’s Dream Theatre Festival by one year, to December 2021. However, the French director Pascal Rambert’s play Sisters that was originally meant to be a part of the festival programme will open in December 2020.
Short history of Midwinter Night’s Dream
Midwinter Night’s Dream Theatre Festival that takes place biennially has had several different curators during the years, and many different faces due to that, but each time our goal is to introduce an inspiring theatrical phenomenon that would speak to the audience of Tallinn City Theatre.
The Midwinter Night’s Dream festival was founded in 2000, when the City Theatre had just opened its new wing with the freshly renovated Heaven Theatre and Chamber Theatre. Together with the Hell Theatre that had also recently been opened, the former small theatre company that for many years struggled with lack of space now suddenly had a large building with multiple venues, capable of giving several performances at the same time and welcoming a much larger audience. The uniqueness of the theatre situated in a complex of medieval houses also attracted the attention of many foreign guests. In the turn of the millennium Tallinn City Theatre performed in many festivals in Europe and Russia. But there was one thing that often caused certain distress – tight festival schedules didn’t enable actors to see each other’s work and make new contacts. Thus, the City Theatre started to dream about our own festival that would enable us to welcome visiting companies, interesting theatre-makers bringing in fresh vibes and giving an additional value to the theatre audiences of Tallinn, as well as to show the world our own productions and our new theatre building. The festival’s goal was to invite companies with similar artistic pursuits, and to gather the whole event under the same roof, making the best of the theatre building’s cosy atmosphere to encourage communication between participants. The event was subtitled “festival of small stages” and scheduled between Christmas and New Year that inspired the name Midwinter Night’s Dream.
During the past eighteen years, the festival team has brought to Tallinn productions from great directors, for example Peter Brook, Kama Ginkas, Frank Castorf, Patravadi Medjuhon, Reko Lundán, Alvis Hermanis, Dmitri Krymov, Robert Lepage, Brett Bailey and Kirill Serebrennikov. Amazing actors like Martin Wuttke, Oksana Mysina, Bruce Myers and Issey Ogata have performed here. The genres have spanned from Russian psychological realism to African dance, from Finnish family tragedy to German avant-garde. Rimini Protocol invited the audience to take a walk in the city with headphones, whereas Exhibit B shifted the viewers point of view by displaying a live gallery of people. The festival has hosted forty four different productions; in addition, there have been dozens of discussions, workshops, lectures, screenings and club events. Several of our goals, visions or expectations have shifted, developed, disappeared or changed during the years. It became evident quite early on that there are very few great productions that can actually fit into the City Theatre’s small venues – already at the second festival we rented some of the venues elsewhere. When the first six festivals ended with a grand New Year Celebration with the festival guests and the public, in 2012 the festival was brought to mid-December in order to overcome obstacles connected to the logistics and work routine, and to pull the real focus back to theatre. In May 2017 the Midwinter Night’s Dream Festival received the EFFE Festival Label for the years 2017—2018.
During Tallinn City Theatre’s brainstorming conference in 2017 we formulated the goal of the Midwinter Night’s Dream once again: to invite our kindred spirits to Tallinn, to host productions that are close to our heart – not by form, but by spirit. In retrospect, one of our most successful festivals was the one dedicated to Dmitri Krymov’s productions in 2010, giving the audience an opportunity to take a deeper look into the work of an extremely interesting director and artist. The festival of 2018 focused on the Latvian director Alvis Hermanis and New Riga Theatre whose work for us was novel in form, but close in spirit.
Midwinter Night’s Dream
Lai 23, 10133 Tallinn
Oliver Berg, executive producer
+372 665 0952, +372 518 0646
Margus Küppar, marketing
+372 6650 890
Greete Uustal, ticket sales
+372 6650 888
Triin Sinissaar, printed materials and translations
+372 6650 803
Helen Kask, website, social media and printed materials
+372 6650 805