Kanuti Gildi SAAL is a performing arts centre that opened in 2001. SAAL was the first performing arts institution in Baltic states without a permanent company and thus dedicated to freelance artists.


Kanuti Gildi SAAL was created for artists with a keen interest in the world around us. SAAL is promoting authentic and original artistic work. We are constantly working at offering the artists the possibilities to create their own original work - to put their ideas into practice, to develop them, to research, to experiment, and to take risks. We are not afraid of the unknown, of the non-existing formats or the ideas-in-development.


One of the main activities of Kanuti Gildi SAAL is to co-produce work in collaboration with partners and artists. Every season sees up to 15 premieres. In addition, we are facilitating residencies with various objectives in order to give artists the space and time for developing their ideas.


Kanuti Gildi SAAL is sharing the mental space with artists and other like-minded centres across the world. We are part of the international circulation - considering not only the local scale but a wider scope of our activity while putting together creative teams or a program. Touring abroad is a crucial part of our co-production work and we are the most widely touring performing arts institution in Estonia. For example, 91 guest performances were given by our collaborating artists in 15 different countries in 2019, that is two performances in a week on average.


Kanuti Gildi SAAL is organising the longest standing international performing arts festival in Tallinn - SAAL Biennaal (2001-2014 Augusti TantsuFestival). We are the co-organisers of the biennial festival NU Performance Festival (since 2005). The international festivals are an opportunity for the Estonian audience to see pieces from abroad. In addition, we hold an annual local festival for short works Made in Estonia Maraton (since 2006).


We are striving to reflect the current state of art and society in general, as we organise, in addition to performances, different events with the aim of activating the audience. We stay in close dialogue with the community by constantly reframing our place in the performing arts field. SAAL has become a meeting place and a hub for curious-minded people. We like the fact that after a while it becomes challenging to maintain one’s anonymity or remain a stranger when coming to Kanuti Gildi SAAL.


Kanuti Gildi SAAL is located in the heart of Tallinn’s old town, offering sharp-minded art inside the medieval town walls. The very first known professional theatre show in Estonia took place in the same building - originally the Saint Canute Guild House - as early as in 1633. We operate in a house with hundreds of years of history, meanwhile staying acutely connected to the present times and standing always one foot in the future.



We have three one-month residency vacancies! The residency offers a chance to experiment and research, rather than to realize a full performance or a piece. It is open for artists from Estonia or residing in Estonia. The residency is supported by Kulka.

Residents can choose a month to work at our Cellar Hall or in Püha Vaimu SAAL sometime between January-May or September-December 2023. We are waiting for your idea descriptions, preferred period and room for residency and CVs to, latest by December 9th.

About previous residencies in SAAL:

On September 21 an installative performance titled "T2" by visual artists Mihkel Ilus and Marten Esko will premiere at Kanuti Gildi SAAL. The three-week-long exhibition-performance leads the viewer into a world of parallel plural meanings and platitudes, where the notion of uncertainty is furnished with prosaic and existential strangeness. "T2" is the opening project of the 2022/23 season of Kanuti Gildi SAAL and produced in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia.

The conceptual focus of “T2” is the change and accumulation of meanings over time, which is why the project opens each week under a new subtitle, and its content changes accordingly. The aim of the artists is to stage the visitor's experience in an exhibition-like, yet inevitably a theatrical spatial situation where each visitor's experience may be somewhat different from the next. Inspiration has (among other sources) been drawn from Soviet science fiction and hysterical realism, making sense of the dislocation of being human in unrealistic conditions and creating imaginary pictures of unfinished visions of the future.

The project has included Mihkel Tomberg as sound designer, Kalle Tikas as lighting and special effects designer, Taavi Eelmaa as dramaturgical support, Allan Appelberg as (sceno) graphic designer and Alyona Movko-Mägi as video designer. Liisa Saaremäel, Katariina Tamm, Markus Truup and Tambet Tuisk will provide the voices.

The project includes additional artworks by Raili Keiv, Johannes Luik and Niall Macdonald as well as images of works belonging to the collection of the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design.

Marten Esko (1990) is a curator, artworker, exhibition-maker, researcher and writer based in Tallinn, Estonia. His practice to date has mainly focused on various ways of exhibiting and exhibition-making, taking pleasure in both material and spatial as well as conceptual and contextual approaches towards knowledge-, awareness-, meaning- and ignorance-making. He is one of the board members of the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), which he ran between 2016 and 2020. Since 2021 he is a PhD student within the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Mihkel Ilus (1987) is a visual artist, whose main focus is on painting and its extended field. Ilus often works with large-scale installations and with variations in exhibition's timeline. In his practice contemporary exhibition culture and performing arts are crucially intertwining. Recently Ilus has been concentrating on the distinction of objecthood as such in conditions of white cube and black box situations. Ilus has created solo and collaborative exhibitions, curated others' oeuvre from both the field of visual and performing arts. He focuses on his studio practice, splitting his time between diverse projects and working as lecturer and a technician in the painting department of the Estonian Academy of Arts.

The installation-performance "T2" will be open from September 21 to October 8 and functions as an hour-long loop, that can be visited from Wednesday to Saturday:

Coming weeks are decisive 21.09 - 24.09:
Wed 18.00-21.00
Thu-Sat 15.00-20.00

Everything is possible somewhere 28.09 - 01.10:
Wed 18.00-21.00
Thu-Sat 15.00-20.00

A good solution because of the times 05.10 - 08.10:
Wed 18.00-21.00
Thu-Sat 15.00-20.00

Our upcoming season presents new works by various artists. After the 2022/23 season Priit Raud will step back as the artistic director of Kanuti Gildi SAAL and the program will collectively be curated by Eneli Järs, Maarja Kalmre and Kaie Küünal.

But this season begins with a performative-installative exhibition space experience titled “T2” by Mihkel Ilus and Marten Esko. “T2” will take place throughout three weeks in Kanuti Gildi SAAL – from September 21 to October 8. The focus is on guiding the audience through an exhibition-like, but inevitably also a theater-like space. The project is a collaboration with the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia.

In September and October we will have extra shows of “traps” by Johhan Rosenberg and “The Myth: last day” by Netti Nüganen. Johhan Rosenberg and Netti Nüganen are emerging artists, both having recently graduated from SNDO.

Next up, on November 14th – a new performance “When Coming To the End of The Sentence We've Forgotten Where It Began” by Nele Tiidelepp. In collaboration with many young artists they will attempt to collectively agree or disagree with their pasts, gather and take themselves apart, make peace with the fact that when coming to the end of the sentence they've already forgotten where it even began.

On the 5th of December Berlin-based artists Sigrid Savi and Hanna Kritten Tangsoo will present their first collaborative work “Cowbody / Oh wow, it's you!”. The work views intimacy from a distance and sees passiveness as an aggressive gesture. On December 13 we will present works by recent graduates of the master's programme in Stockholm University of The Arts – Stella Kruusimägi, Nefeli Gioti and Andrea Diaz Ghiretti.

A fresh play “Anatomy of an Hare” by Karl Koppelmaa will take the stage in January, as a collaboration with theater Kelm.

A new multimedia performance “Guiding Light V” by Vienna-based artists Artjom Astrov, Michaela Kisling, Till Megerle and Aziza Harmeli will premiere in February. “Guiding Light V” is a continuation of their last performance “Guiding Light IV” that premiered in Kunsthalle Wien in March 2022.

New works by Karolin Poska, whose solo performance “For your nirvana” was nominated for the Dance Awards of Estonia in 2020, and Liisa Saaremäel, who was awarded the upcoming artist of 2021 prize, will also premiere in spring 2023.

In June Kanuti Gildi SAAL will be organizing the festival Baltic Take Over in Helsinki, together with the New Theatre Institute of Latvia and Lithuanian Dance Info Centre. Performing arts from the Baltic countries will take over Finland for one weekend in June.

Throughout the season our online performing arts magazine MAGASIN will continue exploring and publishing texts. So will the performative pop-up bookshop Kausaal, led by Heneliis Notton and Bohdana Korohod. We will host various residencies throughout the season. From September-December Bohdana Korohod, Mara Kirchberg, Liis Lindmaa and Jim Ashilevi will have the space and support to research, create and experiment.

Our 2022/23 season will come to an end in August with the 20th edition of SAAL Biennaal.

We have two one-month residency vacancies! The residency offers a chance to experiment and research, rather than to realise a full performance or a piece. It is open for artists from Estonia or residing in Estonia. The residency is supported by Kulka.

Residents can choose a month to work at Cellar Hall or in Püha Vaimu SAAL sometime between September and November.

We are waiting for your idea descriptions, preferred period and room for residency and CVs to, latest by June 5.

  1. mail esietendub Kanuti Gildi SAALis Netti Nüganeni lavastus “Müüt: päeva äärel”. Lavastuse keskeks kujundiks on ajaloo erinevaid kihte sisaldav arheoloogiline kaevandus, milles tegutseb pseudoarheoloog, kes maapinnast esemeid kaevab. Luues müüte põimib lavastus reaalsust ja fiktsiooni, tegeledes seekaudu spekulatiivse mineviku-tuleviku loomisega. Etendused toimuvad maikuus Kanuti Gildi SAALis nii eesti kui ka inglise keeles.

“Müüt: päeva äärel” uurib maakoort ning lähtub kuulujutust, et maapinna kihtidest leiab sotsioloogiliste muutuste ja kollektiivsete konfiguratsioonide käigus tekkinud sajandite tagust hõõrdejõudu. Et maakoores on säilinud geoloogilised rännakud, mälestused ning marsid, mis loovad magneetilist soojust, võimaldades – ideaalsetes tingimustes – ületada ihu kõdunemist.

Lavastuse peategelane väljub maakoorest, et ajada korda oma ajutised asjad ning siis uuesti igaveseks kaduda. Kunstnik kirjeldab: “Kui kaua on ta seal kõdunemist võites olnud, ei tea keegi. Maakihid muutuvad üha paksemaks ja tema muudkui roomab ja roomab ja roomab ja roomab. Ülespoole, kus päikesekiired maakoore pragudest läbi tungivad. Tema pikad sõrmeküüned kraabivad mullakoorikut ja ta õhkab tulipunaselt, lõõtsub ägedusest, keeb. Värske õhk on kurgule kriipiv, valgus silmale liiga ere – kuid ta väljub. Täielikus segaduses, peata, selgroota. Ta vajab vormi: mis tahes kindlat stiili, mille külge klammerduda.”

Nüganeni sõnul esitab ta lavastuses rohkem küsimusi kui annab vastuseid, mängides seekaudu vaatenurkade erinevustega. Kellele kuuluvad esemed, mis maa seest välja tulevad? Kas leidjale, maapinnale, riigile või esmetele endile? Kelle lugusid kuulatakse?

Netti Nüganen (Amsterdam/Tallinn) on performance kunstnik, koreograaf, esineja ning muusik. Ta on lõpetanud Amsterdami Kunstikoolis (SNDO) koreograafia eriala BA. Nüganeni video- ja lavatööd jutustavad lugusid karakteritest, kes tema sees koos eksisteerivad: tõstja, teismeline vlogger, detektiiv, arheoloog jm. Tema eelnev kokkupuude teatri, tantsu, tsirkuse ja spordiga ajendab teda küsitama kõike seda, mis on äratuntav ning lähenema valvsa ja hoolika tähelepanuga kõigele, mis tundub võõras või kohatu. Vasturääkivustest ning ideede paljususest inspiratsiooni leides, tegeleb Nüganen maailma loomisega, mis alistub kaasaegsusele kohasele konfliktsusele ning absurdile. Tema töid on esitatud Frascatis Amsterdamis, Batard Festivalil, Tartu Kunstimuuseumis, Kanuti Gildi SAALis, KIM? galeriis, Lissaboni Filmifestivalil, My Wild Flag Festivalil jm.

Lavastus, esitus: Netti Nüganen; lavakujundus, kostüümid: Pire Sova; dramaturgia: Sabine Cmelniski; helikujundus: Artjom Astrov; valguskujundus: Priidu Adlas; tekstiline abi: Keiu Krikmann; graafiline disain: Yunie Chae; projektijuhtimine: Siim Tõniste, Eneli Järs; kaasproduktsioon: Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Netti Nüganen; toetaja: Eesti Kultuurkapital.

Esietendus: 14.05.22, Kanuti Gildi SAAL
Kestus: 90min

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