Kanuti Gildi SAAL is a contemporary performing arts centre in Tallinn. One of our main activities is to co-produce artworks in collaboration with institutional partners and artists. We organize various festivals and facilitates residencies in order to support artists in their creative process.


Kanuti Gildi SAAL was established mainly for freelance artists. We are offering artists possibilities to create new and original artworks: to research, develop and put their ideas to practice, to experiment and take risks. We aren't afraid to work with the unknown – new formats and ideas still 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). Since 2022 the festival Switchover has yearly been taking place in Tartu. We are the co-organisers of the festival NU Performance Festival (since 2005). The international festivals are an opportunity for the Estonian audience to see works from abroad. In addition, we hold an annual local festival for short works Made in Estonia Maraton (since 2006).


In addition to performances, Kanuti organizes a variety of events to activate the audience and always strives to engage with the most current issues in art and society. It stays in close dialogue with the community and constantly reframes its place in the performing arts field. We have become a meeting place and a hub for curious-minded people.


Kanuti Gildi SAAL is located in the heart of Tallinn Old Town, showcasing contemporary art between historic town walls. The very first documented professional theater show in Estonia took place in the same location, in the Saint Canute Guild House in 1633. Although we operate in a building with centuries-long history, we stay acutely connected to the present and always stand with one foot in the future.



Due to its politically charged location – across the street from the Russian Embassy – Kanuti Gildi SAAL decided to commemorate the one year anniversary of the beginning of the war in Ukraine by inviting a war refugee Sofija Melnikova to Tallinn with her performance "Drama Queen". The performance is a story about Melnikova's exile, fear and failed love, in which she talks about her arrival to Riga as a refugee from Ukraine and the end of an eight-year-long relationship. The performance was recently shortlisted for the Latvian award "Kilograms kultūras 2022" as one of five nominees in the theater category.

Sofija Melnikova is a young Ukrainian theater-maker from the Donetsk region, who studied directing at the Kharkiv National University of Arts. After the beginning of the war in Ukraine, she arrived in Riga in April 2022, where her performance “Drama Queen” premiered at the Dirty Deal Teatro at the end of last year. Melnikova has been co-directed by one of the currently best-known Latvian directors, Valters Sīlis.

The performance is in Ukrainian and Russian, with subtitles in Estonian and English. Tickets are on sale at Fienta and also, donations for Ukraine can be made at the door.

Made in Estonia Marathon is waiting for original performances created especially for the marathon, with length up to 10 minutes. Video can also be used and of course you can rehearse beforehand. Each artist can have a rehearsal before the event (rehearsal days are 8.-10.03). Please let us know of your ideas by February 20th 2023 by filling in this questionnaire.

SAAL's most popular performing arts festivity Made in Estonia Marathon will take place for the 16th time on the 11th of March. It's a festival of short formats, where performers have a maximum of 10 minutes to do whatever they want on stage. The performance must be an original creation made especially for the marathon. Within a few hours a persona non grata can become a persona grata, a flash idea can become the end result, anyone can become an artist and the artist can become anyone. Made in Estonia Marathon is divided into four sections: blackbox, video, empty stage and punk section. The punk section is characterized by a ready-made stage design for artists who are inspired by physical space. You can see the actual space only a few days before the event which makes it a game or a challenge of its own.

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