RAKVERE TEATER, opened in 1940, is a professional repertory theatre in the small northeastern town of Rakvere, Estonia. Rakvere at present has ca 17 000 inhabitants and is probably the smallest place with a professional repertory theatre of its own in the whole Europe.
Being the smallest state owned theatre in Estonia the name Rakvere Teater has become a well-known brand that equals to a good ensemble work of its 20 actors with collaboration of the best Estonian guest directors. The repertoire of Rakvere Teater is divided between classical and more avant-garde productions. At the moment it consists authors such as Ostrovsky, Pinter, Genet, E.-E. Schmitt, Kane etc., but also Estonian originals such as Kitzberg and Kivirähk. It doesn't matter whether classics or modern - the essence of Rakvere Teater's productions is a highly skillful professional performing art that is very noticeable in the space of Estonian contemporary theatre.
Nevertheless, throughout its existence working conditions of the theatre have been difficult. The town itself cannot provide enough spectators and although these days wider audience have found their way to Rakvere, the theatre was and still is one of the most frequent on-tour theaters in Estonia. Nowadays approximately 1/3 of Rakvere Teater's performances take place in other places around Estonia.
At present Rakvere Teater consists of 20 actors; the theatre has a 411-seat traditional proscenium stage and a 100-seat black-box auditorium. The current repertoire includes ca 20 plays and annually more than 350 performances for over 68,000 spectators are given. The theatre also has its own cafe, cinema, art-gallery and costume hire, and local audience has got used to visiting different concerts and parties organized by the theatre.
From 1994 Rakvere Teater is the organiser of biennial alternative theatre festival Baltoscandal – the oldest international theatre festival in the Baltic states. Baltoscandal features all forms of performing arts. The main emphasis of the festival is to introduce interesting, experimentative and innovative theatre and performing arts from all around the world.