SAAL Biennaal 2021

The 19th international performing arts festival SAAL Biennaal will take place from the 12th to the 29th of August in Tallinn!

Festival events are condensed into three longer weekends presenting the creations of 13 artist collectives. SAAL Biennaal has invited the following artists: Jette Loona Hermanis (Tallinn/Riga) & Johhan Rosenberg (Muusika village), Maud Blandel (Lausanne), Adriano Wilfert Jensen (Copenhagen/Brussels), platform for arts production RESKRIPT (Tallinn), bookshop and project space for performance and publication RILE* (Brussels), Maija Hirvanen & Juha Valkeapää (Helsinki), Yulia Arsen (Moscow), Chloe Chignell (Brussels), Quim Bigas (Barcelona/Copenhagen), Laura Stašāne & Jana Jacuka (Riga), Karolin Poska (Tallinn), Kate McIntosh (Brussels), Dries Verhoeven (Amsterdam/Utrecht). Festival events will take place in theatre venues such as - Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Sakala 3 Teatrimaja, Vabal Lava, but also in public spaces at Telliskivi Creative City or on the pier behind the Tallinn City Hall, as well as within the journeys between those.

Since the global pandemic has cleansed our senses it is a perfect moment to come and explore the proposals of the artists who are part of this edition of SAAL Biennaal festival to experience the shared time-space. Festival opens with the abundant new creation of Jette Loona Hermanis and Johhan Rosenberg “Eden Detail” that had only a few runs before the last lockdown, but can be reachable now with pleasure. In addition to the magnificent performances one can peek the books in prvacy at the reading salon of RILE* in the Cellar Hall of Kanuti Gildi SAAL or take a scripted journey with a chosen artist in a mindful space-time.

This edition of the festival might be a bit more poetic and intimate than previous, as it follows our preceding common realisation of the fragility of our common-space, while it also incorporates socially critical works. For example the “Physical Evidence Museum” exposes and empowers vulnerable stories about violence including local contributions by Laura Stašāne ja Jana Jacuka. As well as the installation “Happiness” by Dries Verhoeven pointing critically at the means we use to adjust our emotional reality or to escape our human state entirely for a while.

The core of this edition of SAAL Biennaal is probably best captured by the new work of Kate McIntosh entitled “To Speak Light Pours Out“. Kate McIntosh has referred to the background of this work as follows: “They say when we’re all in the same space listening together, our heartbeats might end up synchronizing. But our breathing will not, our breathing will stay polyrhythmic. There is something in this idea of gathering people in a room to listen and to be aware of many different perspectives that are in the room, as there is a kind of unity that comes with listening together, and yet everyone remains in their own rhythm.” It is also a nice image for the shared time-space of experiencing theatre.

It has been relevant for SAAL Biennaal to take into consideration how to share its resources. Therefore we continue to collaborate with local contemporary dance initiatives Tantsuruum and Tantsumassiiv. This time we are also preparing an experiment “eˉlektron signal. SAAL Biennaal radio” with the half virtual – half physical platform eˉlektron connecting performing arts and science.

SAAL Biennaal 2021 supporters and partners: Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Culture and Sports Department of Tallinn, Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme residencies, Pro Helvetia, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) - PICE, Flemish Government, Performing Arts Fund NL, Vaba Lava, Sakala 3 Teatrimaja, Telliskivi Creative City, Go Hotel Shnelli, Hestia Hotel Group, Tantsuruum, Tantsumassiiv, eˉlektron, IDA raadio, Valmiermuiža among others.

SAAL Biennaal 2021 festival will be organized in regards the pandemic following the same principles practiced at Kanuti Gildi SAAL within the season, that is we follow the current official guidelines to keep our audiences, artists and team safe above all.

Curator: Annika Üprus
Organised by: Kanuti Gildi SAAL
Graphic design: Jaan Evart
Video teaser: Mikk-Mait Kivi
Tickets from