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Foto: Piret Kooli / Soome Instituut
kolm naist tantsulavastuses

Vaba Lava Narva residency

The premise of our work is to create content that resonates with the Estonian society. The institute piloted a residency for performing arts in Narva in 2019–2020, cooperating with art center Vaba Lava.

Open Call

The Finnish Institute and Vaba Lava center welcome applications from performing artists or artist groups (circus, dance, theatre, performance art) based in Finland. The deadline is March 1, 2020 and the residencies take place during May 7-28, in Narva, in the North-East of Estonia. The program is generously supported by Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.

We are offering a residency period for a small group of maximum 4 people. The main purpose is to provide time and space for the residents’ artistic practice but our activities are socially engaged in Narva. During the residency, artists are expected to collaborate with local school groups two hours per week plus a demo / work-in-progress show. The Institute and Vaba Lava will coordinate and facilitate the workshops.


Apply by filling in the online form (Microsoft Forms)

Deadline for applications: March 1, 2020

Decisions: March 5, 2020

Residency period: May 7-28, 2020

Terms and Conditions 

  • The artists-in-residence must credit the Finnish Institute in Estonia as a residency partner in all marketing and communications relating to the residency as well as the production developed during the residency.
  • The artists-in-residence must have valid personal travel insurance.
  • Vaba Lava does not provide actual stage, lighting or sound design services nor operate the equipment during rehearsal time.

Covered by the program

  • Travel costs (roundtrip from Finland to Narva, using the most economical option. We do not support flight costs)
  • Accommodation (apartment, shared with the whole group)
  • Stipendium of 600 euros per artist per residency period, max. 4 artists per residency.
  • 500 euros for materials for workshops and/or demo performance.

Working space

  • Small stage, 82 square meters, 52 seats. (No stage lights)
  • Studio stage (136 square meters, 52 seats) or black box (370 square meters, 270 seats) for the demo / work-in-progress performance.
  • Vaba Lava center is open from 10 am to 10 pm, subject to changes.
  • Access to the office facilities, if needed.


Accommodation at Vaba Lava with private or shared rooms and shared facilities (kitchen, toilet, bathroom).


Narva is a Russian speaking, post-industrial town on the Estonian-Russian border. The town has a complex and multi-tier history. It was home to Krenholm textile manufacture, which was the world’s biggest one at its peak. The Estonian government has lately invested in Narva with new initiatives, such as Estonian Art Academy’s Narva Art Residency and Vaba Lava Narva.

Vaba Lava Narva is centrally located, in an old arms factory building from 1947. The center opened in December and has cutting edge facilities. The center hosts a Black Box stage, Studio stage and small stage, office spaces, guest rooms, gallery, cafe, and Estonian National Broadcasting Company’s Narva branch.

The foundation Vaba Lava (Open Space) was founded by 9 independent theatre and dance companies in 2010 with two aims: firstly to provide opportunities for both established and emerging independent companies in Estonia and secondly to promote international cooperation organizing joint projects, co-productions, workshops, and seminars. Vaba Lava is the first theatre center in Estonia without a resident company. Vaba Lava aims at offering independent companies both a space for performing and support services as well as serving as a production center and a hotbed for new experimental and unconventional work.