Examples of events and projects 1999-2011

Some examples from VAT Theatre Forum Group social theatre activities since 1999 (source: „Forum Theatre’s applicable possibilities through the example of school violence prevention work“, Mari-Liis Velberg, 2008)

Mustamäe school youth festival „Youth Without Violence“ (“Vägivallata noorus”) (since 1999) – performances
Estonian Television youth programme „Rusikas“ (2000) – series consisting of 15 programmes about social issues
Tallinn Children’s Shelter House (2003/2004) – workshops for children with drug dependency problems
Project „Interactive theatre as an informal learning possibility“ (2004) – trainings for youth and adults, incl. social workers and teachers
Tallinn Children’s Support Centre project „All Youth Against Violence!“ („Kõik Noored Vägivalla Vastu!”) (2004/2005) – 12 workshops about violence to Tallinn universities’ social sciences area students
Vasalemma school project „You have a choice!“ (“Sul on valikuvõimalus!”) (2005) – workshops about not attending school and prevention of conflicts to students, and a performance to school workers
and juvenile comission members
Kadriorg German School (2005) – performances about violence
topic to grades 5-7
Tartu Children’s Shelter House project „
Freem from tensions with creativity!“ („Loovusega pingetest priiks!” ) (2005) – workshops to volunteers and kids from juvenile commisions
Tallinn Children’s Support Centre (2005) – workshops to children
from juvenile commissions

Project „Freedom of Choice“ („ValikuVabadus“) (2005) – performances about school violence to six Tallinn schools’ 6th graders
Project „Freedom of choice – ID of forum theatre“ („Valikuvõimalus – foorumteatri ID!“) (2006/2007) – information days introducing forum theatre and word explanation game „ENTER“, both as creative methods for violence prevention. These took place in eight counties and in Tallinn. The target group consisted of specialists working at schools, youth centres and other social institutions

Estonian Centre for Child Welfare (since 2006) – forum theatre trainings for youth and specialists working with youth
Urvaste school project „A truly encouraging game“ („Tõsine julgust andev mäng“) (2007) – workshops for the school’s teachers and students
Tartu Children’s Shelter House project „Together we make a better future“ („Loome koos parema homse!“) (2007) – workshops for children
from juvenile commisions. Prevention of violence and criminal actions.
SA Õpilasmalev (2008) – forum theatre trainings to voluntary youth work camp group leaders
Open forum theatre performances about
different relevant issues in National Library, VAT Theatre hall and in Tartu Genialistide Klubi (since 2008)


In September, the forum group started a new season. At the weekly meetings, a vision and mission were set, and future activities were planned.

On 14 September, a workshop was held at Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centers for youth workers on the topic “Involvement of young people with special needs caused by disabilities in youth work”, conducted by Niki, Anne-Liis and Mari-Liis. The keywords for October were the workshop! 13.10 Piret and Mari-Liis did forum theater activities on Grundtvig day (see the picture of our jokers in the online media – vaata joonmeedia pilti meie jokkeritest  🙂 The educational workshops have started again after the performance “Belt from Paper Clips” and they are already in Nõmme Basic School, Real School and Pärnu Russian Gymnasium, conducted by Mari-Liis, Ann, Uku and Gertha. 7.11 workshop for the 6th grade of Rocca al Mare school under the supervision of Anete and Anne-Liisi. On 11 November, Mari-Liis and Niki were creating a workshop for the team of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. 2. and 9. 11 Piret and Mari-Liis Pärnu County Governments conducted a workshop for young people from Häädemeeste Secondary School, Pärnu-Jaagupi, Kilingi-Nõmme Gymnasium and Tõstamaa Secondary School, who said that they read on the topic: Alcohol and injuries. The aim was to provide young people and tutors with basic knowledge of forum theater through experience. On 16 November, a workshop for teachers and young people took place in Pärnu County Government, within the framework of which we introduced the forum theater implementation at school. The events took place thanks to the project “Prevention of home and leisure injuries in Pärnu county”. On November 24, the Forum Group conducted a creative and playful summary of the day at the TU leaders’ development seminar. On November 30, Mari-Liis and Piret conducted a creative and playful summary of the day at a conference on environmental education.

From 3 to 12 November, the Forum Group participated in the training of Rainbow of Desires, one of the most therapeutic methods for the oppressed theater. Threshold Iwan Brioc (Wales), see more: http://www.iwanbrioc.com/. The other participants were from Romania, Wales, Italy and Portugal. The “Free Our Mind” project was funded by the European Youth Office in Estonia. Organizers: VAT Theater Forum Group and MTÜ Forum Theater. Read more at http://foorumteater.com/?page_id=190. Here you can download valuable training materials collected based on the rainbow training of wishes: in Estonian – http://issuu.com/nikolaikunitson/docs/rod_est#embed. In English – http://issuu.com/nikolaikunitson/docs/rod_eng. Video from training photos – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2koJKxt-Gc.


In the season 2010-2011, the following people created together in the VAT Theater Forum Group: Margo Teder, Piret Soosaar, Nikolai Kunitsõn, Ann Kulasalu, Anete Pelmas, Erika Sall, Anne-Liis Rips, Kadi Jaanisoo, Kristel-Liis Feld, Heidi Mõttus, Linda Koppel, Mihkel Roolaid, Jarmo Lõhmussaar, Tormi Tuuling, Liisi Randma, Gertha Teidla.

13.10.10 forum theater performances for Kurtna school teachers took place and on 8-9. at students. Subject: “Tolerance, student-teacher relations”. Played: Heidi, Kristel-Liis, Anne-Liis. Jokker: Mihkel. On October 22, a forum theater performance workshop for the youth of Sõmeru Youth Center took place. Subject: “Alcohol and relations”. Played: Kristel-Liis, Nikolai, Tormi and Mihkel. Jokker: Mari-Liis.

‘Within the framework of the Platform 11+ project, a youth exchange “Shared Stories from Schoolyard” took place at the VAT Theater on October 23-31, 2010. A total of 32 young people from 4 countries (Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia) participated in the week. As part of the same youth week, Margo and Mari-Liis held a forum workshop on October 24. In the workshop, we dealt with picture theater, in the framework of which stories about young people from 4 countries were reflected in the school environment. The aim was also to find out which topics are relevant to these young people and thus also inspiring material for the weekend performance of the week “Handbook of Your Life”. The workshop was attended by the same 32 young people and mentors. See photos from photo and material page of foorumgrupp.

In the period November-December 2010, we performed a total of 10 forum theater performances in 5 schools in Pärnu County (2 performances in each school) in Pärnu County within the framework of the EHIF prevention project “Alcohol and Injuries”. We found the topic of the forum performance based on the letters from the students, which were sent to the forum group as a preliminary work. Subject: Alcohol and young people and road injuries Schools where the performances took place: Pärnu-Jaagupi Gymnasium, Kilingi-Nõmme Gymnasium, Vändra Gymnasium, Häädemeeste KK, Tõstamaa KK. Played: Linda, Kristel-Liis, Heidi, Anete and Anne-Liis. Jokers: Nikolai, Mari-Liis and Jarmo. See photos from forum shows from photo page.

As part of the Platform 11+ project, the forum group collaborated with playwright Kristina Jalasto, who co-wrote the youth play “Salto mortale” with Michaela Zakutanska. The forum group relied on this new play and the 8th grade youth literature of the Old Town Education College and compiled a forum story on the topic of family relations “Younger sister and older brother”. We played the forum performance in VHK on 15.12.10. Played: Niki, Gertha and Anne-Liis. Jokker: Mari-Liis. See photos from the forum show. In December, within the framework of the project “Prevention of Injuries in Tallinn”, the members of the forum group also held 5 forum performances on the topic of school violence in Tallinn schools. Schools where the performances took place: Järveotsa Gymnasium, Tallinn 32nd Secondary School and Laagna Gymnasium. Played: Nikolai, Anete, Anne-Liis, Gertha. Jokker: Piret. On October 26, 2010, the forum group Jokker Mihkel Roolaid conducted a forum workshop at the Estonian-Georgian youth exchange “Hey, I’m an active European!”. In the same month, Mihkel and his youth group also held a forum performance in Viljandi, a seminar on the initiative of young people, and on November 4, Mihkel held a forum performance for young people in the northern districts of Tallinn, which touched on nationalities.

In the spring of 2011, forum performances took place in Saku municipality on the topic “NOTICE, HELP” and “ME AND BORDERS” for the 7th grade of Saku Gymnasium and young people from Saku municipality AK. Played: Ann, Mari-Liis, Kristel-Liis, Mihkel and Linda. Jokers: Mari-Liis and Ann. There was also a forum performance in the spring at Tabasalu Gymnasium for the 7th grade on student-teacher relations and 2 workshops. Played: Mihkel, Ann, Anne-Liis, Liisi. Jokker: Piret. Workshop organizers: Mari-Liis and Piret. Anne-Liis Rips, a member of the forum group, also started working at the Child Welfare Association with a new youth forum group. Info: anneliisrips [at] hotmail.com. One of the most important events was the III ESTONIAN FORUM THEATER FESTIVAL “KOOSTEE”. On April 28, 2011, we also played a forum story on school violence for 7th grade students at Forselius Gymnasium. Played: Linda, Kristel-Liis, Anete, Nikolai and Erika. Jokker: Ann. As part of the festival, Piret organized the think tanks of Estonian jokers. On 19.05.11, a forum performance also took place in Noarootsi within the framework of the European Youth Week. Subject: Volunteering. Played: Kristel-Liis, Anne-Liis, Ann and Mihkel Roolaid. Jokker: Piret. In the period April-June, workshops for young people and performances for police officers and parents took place within the project “Alone at Home” (organized by MTÜ Ohutõrje Ühing). Places: Pärnu, Rapla, Paide, Hiiumaa, Saaremaa, Haapsalu. Conductors: Piret, Nikolai, Ann and Tormi.


In January and March, forum theater training for students of the Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu took place within the framework of the Forum Theater, which was conducted by Mari-Liis and Piret. Played: Ann, Erika, Anne-Liis, Anete. Jokker: Mari-Liis. In February, two forum presentations on school violence took place at Rocca al Mare school. Played: Niki, Toomas, Mihkel, Mari-Liis, Anne-Liis, Ann. Jokker: Mihkel and Mari-Liis. In February, within the framework of the project of different districts of Tallinn, we offered the opportunity to participate in a forum-themed forum performance for young people aimed at juvenile commission, with the aim of prevention work. Played: Niki, Ann, Anne-Liis, Mari-Liis. Jokker: Mihkel. On March 16-17, 2010, the Special Youth Work Conference “Challenges and Opportunities in Working with a Juvenile Offender” was held in Tallinn. For this event, the VAT Theater Forum Group, in cooperation with representatives of youth and juvenile committees, prepared a forum theater performance and presentation. The aim of the preliminary work of the performance was to find the real story of the people related to AAK to be discussed at the conference. Played: Erik, Marit, Anne-Liis, Niki. Jokker: Piret. The presentation was given by Mari-Liis. Aim: introduction of the forum theater method, information night, how this creative method could also be used, for example, in work with problematic children. On March 25-26, October, the Applied Theater Conference “Theater for the Benefit of the Community” took place in Viljandi. As part of the conference, the forum group gave a public forum presentation “Are you ready?” On the topic of pregnancy, relationships and choices related to having a child. Played: Anete, Erika, Niki. Joker: Kadi. Photos can be viewed at: http://web.kultuur.edu.ee/rakendusteatrialanekonverents/Pilta/25_marts/. In addition, Mari-Liis and Piret gave a presentation at the conference and the content of the forum theater developments in Estonia in 1999-2010 in the light of the VAT Theater experiences. In March, Mari-Liis and Piret met with children’s organizers at the Klooga-Ranna training center in the summer camp to discuss games, activities and a safe space.19.06. . On June 13, a forum theater workshop took place within the framework of the festival “Kultuuritolm”. Conducted by Madis.

ACTIVITIES 2008 – 2010

The year 2008 was a move towards theatricality for the VAT Theater Forum Group (6 public forum performances in Tallinn and Tartu – see photos of public forum performances from photo page and here vaata avalike foorumetenduste fotosid siit). In 2009, we took steps towards greater thoroughness and sociality in our work with target groups. Over the years, one of our main directions has been the prevention of school violence, and we are continuing to work in this area, preferring longer and more thorough projects to work in one group. In 2009, the VAT Theater Forum Group and LKL MEIE merged. In the spring of 2009, we celebrated our birthday “Forum Theater in Estonia – 10 years of the first training”. We also presented the first Estonian-language forum theater book ” Forum Theatre applicable possibilities in the Example of School Violence Prevention work” M-L Velberg. One of the activities in 2009 was to encourage the emergence and survival of small forum theater groups all over Estonia. In this respect, it was a great help that together with the Child Welfare Association, we launched the 1st Forum Theater Festival in Tartu on May 2-3, 2009.

The project Platform 11+ started in autumn 2009 and continued in 2010. A new journey with forum theater youth has opened through Platform 11+, ie we started to study how to find forum theater stories in a play and how to use forum theater as a social depth opener. Within the framework of this project, the forum group also cooperates with a tea artist and playwright. The forum group had an inspiring meeting in February 2010 with playwright Marion Jõepera, where the young people actively shared their thoughts on the topics highlighted in the play “Belt from Paper Clips”. There were also meetings with the artist Inga Vares, the aim was to learn from the theater artist’s vision and thus enrich the story of the forum theater. We also helped to prepare the exhibition “Your life is in your hands”, which opened on April 1 in the lobby of the Ingal VAT Theater Hall. Throughout the spring, we worked with the young people of the Forum Theater to find a new forum story from the play “Belt from Paper Clips”. The first story, which was completed in the autumn of 2009, was about the relationship between the characters of this play, Juhan and Kati, in the second we planned to explore the nuances and questions of the friendship between Kati and Liisi. On the way to finding a new story, however, in the spring we devoted ourselves to our own stories, which seem to be important around us, and from which we put together a forum story, which we also played at the Forum Theater ‘s DREAM CALL /”UNISTUSKUTSE” festival in June. For the second festival “DREAM CALL” of 2010, see here. Played: Anete, Erika, Mihkel and Niki. Jokker: Mari-Liis.

VIDEOS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL17B8F55D083BE422

End of the forum performances at the end of the 2nd Estonian Forum Theater Festival “DREAM CALL”, where the actors together with the audience – the community members all together sing and dance. The videos also show the first two teachers of the VAT Theater Forum Group since 1999, Carl Mikael Renlund and Jouni Piekkari

In May, a meeting of three groups took place at the VAT Theater – VAT actors and other people related to the production “Belt from Paper Clips”, young people of the 32nd theater class who also came out with the same production and VAT Theater Forum Group, who dealt with the same material through the forum theater. The purpose of the meeting is to share ideas about the play, mutual sharing and thanks. The VAT Theater Forum Group has fulfilled its goal – to encourage children and young people to use forum theater more and more in their daily work – for several years through various information and prevention projects as well as teaching at the university (Viljandi Culture Academy, Tallinn University). In 2010, the VAT Theater Forum Group continued to hold forum performances, workshops and trainings in various parts of Estonia and developed co-operation with both domestic and foreign partners.