Cuts threaten Tallinn Russian Theatre

Cuts threaten Tallinn Russian Theatre
The Russian Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia (Image: Vene Teatre / Facebook)

17 May 2016

The Estonian Culture Ministry is in no rush to help the country’s only professional Russian theatre, which is considering cuts to the cast in the face of a budget deficit.

Last year, the Russian Theatre (Vene Teater) had a deficit of 100,000 euros (US$113,000), because it did not receive its usual donation from theatre patron and deputy mayor of Moscow Maxim Liksutov. As a result, there was a significant gap in the budget, which the theatre management has been unable to fill.

“The results in last year’s annual report look awful. Yes, I admit that I was very naive in hoping for help from the patron, but it can’t be said that we lost the money. We simply didn’t receive it,” said the director of the Russian Theatre, Tõnu Lensment.

According to member of the theatre’s board and lawmaker Viktoria Ladynskaya, the theatre’s management did not take the necessary measures in time.

“The money was spent when there was no certainty that it would even come. In reality, this problem could have been solved, but apparently, no steps were taken [...],” Ms Ladynskaya said.

Some blame the current situation on Indrek Saar, the former head of the theatre and current Minister of Culture, who signed the theatre’s budget in 2015.

Social Democrat Jaak Allik, who is now chairman of the theatre’s board, has appealed to Estonia’s Culture and Finance Ministries to allocate additional funds. Representatives of the Ministries, however, have been in no rush to respond to the crisis, but rather have pointed out that the theatre received its financial due from the government.

“When changes occur to the planned budget, it is necessary to respond extremely quickly and take appropriate steps, to find ways to increase revenue or savings,” said the Vice-Chancellor of the Ministry of Culture, Hillar Sein.

The theatre has officially informed Mr Sein that if the Ministry of Culture will not help, the employment contracts of three actors of retirement age will be terminated by the end of 2016, while three younger cast members will lose their jobs in 2017.

Source: ERR (in Russian)