The NO99 Straw Theatre was an urban installation, a temporary building in the very center of Tallinn, where international theatre and dance productions were performing during the hot summer of 2011. The black-cube-building was erected in a couple of weeks in the spring of 2011 and after the last performance had left the building, it was dismantled in the autumn.
The black cube suddenly appearing in the middle of Tallinn’s city centre was on the one hand a theatre hall for our international guests like Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, SheShePop, Samuel Finzi, Gob Squad, Ray Lee, Kristian Smeds etc, who attracted the audience. Conceived in form and content by Theatre NO99, notably its artistic director Ene-Liis Semper, it was us who were curating everything about the Straw Theatre. For a short period in the summer of 2011 NO99 was a production house, which organised a five-months-long international theatre festival.
On the other hand, 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 – an unconventional ecological building material for the utopian future, that embodies within it archetypical power along with the beauty of texture. In addition, the need for a new kind of public space: not another 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.
NO99 Straw Theatre was the biggest project in the programme of Tallinn 2011 European Capital of Culture.