Vaba Lava in Narva
On 1 December 2018, the second venue of Performing Arts Centre Vaba Lava was opened in Narva, in the former military factory complex Baltiets.
Narva and Eastern Virumaa
Narva is a border town with Russia, which has historically been under both Swedish and Russian rule. Narva is located in socially and economically deprived area, which is populated by Russian minority community. Narva, which is over 95% Russian-speaking, is the third largest town in Estonia.
Narva is also one of the easternmost points of the current European Union map.
Political Environment and Public Opinion
- Narva is an Estonian border town with Russia.
- Distance: 160 km from St. Petersburg and 220 km from Tallinn.
- No modern technically well-equipped and flexible theatre and concert space of reasonable size as well as relevant offstage spaces.
- In the 1980s Narva had a lively cultural scene with several theatres and a number of festivals. At present, only one theatre has remained: the Russian-language theater Ilmarine for young audience performing in semi-abandoned building in poor conditions.
- Inhabitants have limited access to a variety of cultural events promoting intercultural awareness and communication.
- Estonian Government has acknowledged the utter necessity to strengthen the cultural identity, improve the socio-economic conditions as well as cultural and cross-cultural opportunities for inhabitants of the border areas including Narva.
- Creating a culture and theatre centre in Narva will be relevant from the perspective of regional, cultural and integration policies.
Launching a new Vaba Lava theatre venue in Narva
The project launched by Vaba Lava (Open Space) aims to revitalize Narva`s cultural life by opening a black-box style venue in the former factory complex Baltiets. It will be integral part of a creative hub similar to Telliskivi Loomelinnak in Tallinn.
The new venue will provide performing space for local theatre companies, and will also provide an opportunity to present guest performances by both Estonian repertoire theatres and independent companies as well as theatre and dance companies from Russia, Western Europe and Nordic countries. The new space will be also used for festivals, concerts, seminars, workshops, master classes etc.
Foundation Vaba Lava is funded and operated through a partnership of the Estonian Ministry of Culture and private investors. In both cases, Vaba Lava is a long-term tenant. In Narva, Vaba Lava is the developer of the whole project.
The Performing Arts Centre in Narva will house
- a 371 m2 black-box theatre – 216 seats;
- a rehearsal hall (136 m2) – ca 70 seats;
- an exhibition space and a restaurant situated in the foyer;
- the theatre hall of the theatre Ilmarine (82 m2) – ca 50 seats;
- dressing rooms;
- a green-room;
- storage area;
- TV and radio studio of Estonian National Broadcasting.
- Foundation Vaba Lava – lessee and developer of the privately owned factory complex Baltiets;
- Ltd Linda Kaks – lessor, owner of the property, private investor;
- Ministry of Culture – supporter;
- Subtenant – Estonian National Broadcasting
- Sponsors, international financing foundations and collaborators.
The future of Eastern Virumaa and Narva
In recent years Estonian Government has acknowledged the utter necessity to strengthen the cultural identity, improve the socio-economic conditions as well as cultural and cross-cultural opportunities for inhabitants of the border areas including Narva. There are several postive examples of the change of paradigm towards Eastern Virumaa and Narva, e.g. several public institutions like the Narva College of Estonian Academy of Security Sciences or the Integration Foundation will be moved to Narva. In addition, the Government and policy makers have also realized the importance of culture in triggering socio-economic growth, e.g. the Ministry of Culture supports the foundation of the Performing Arts Centre Vaba Lava with 3.7 million EUR. The international festival Tallinn Music Week holds an affiliated festival Station Narva in September 2018 in the abandoned former factory complex of textiles industry named Kreenholm. Furthermore, Narva is aiming to become the European Capital of Culture in 2024. Their slogan is „Narva is next“ with a connotation that Narva has a potential of becoming the next success story.