Amending the Performing Arts Institutions Act

The process for the amendment of the Performing Arts Institution Act has lasted a long time; the intention to draft along with the planned changes was sent to the stakeholders in this field of activity in February 2016. During the subsequent two years, the amendments to the law have been discussed at various meetings with relevant representatives.


What are the most important objectives of the amendments?


The main objectives for amending the law are to put the financing system in order, update the definition of performing arts institutions, concretise the specifics of the music field, update the law’s regulations and reduce duplications.


How will the definition of a performing arts institution be amended?


A list of main activities will added in accordance with the EMTAK code, performing arts institutions will no longer be required to establish a creative council, the opportunities for concluding contractual relations with creative workers will be expanded, and the possibility to conclude relationships based on the law of obligations will be added. The range of the different activity forms will be expanded; and the state performing arts institutions that are no longer active in the field, and the functioning logic of which are based on the previous law, will be deleted.

Since the Performing Arts Institutions Act also deals with the field of music, in the new version, the concept of a concert institution will be included as a sub-type of the performing arts institution, thereby enabling the specifics of this field of activity to be highlighted in the necessary paragraphs. In addition, it will be possible to more clearly distinguish between the financing principles for the theatrical and musical fields of activity.


What are the main changes?


The greatest change compared to the currently valid law is that the financing system will be formulated by regulation and a more precise and detailed description thereof will be provided. In the current law, the description of the financing of the entire variegated Estonian theatrical and musical field of activity is limited to only a few generalised sentences. The new regulation includes all the financing facets and, unlike a law, amending and supplementing the regulation will be more flexible. For instance, museums and sports are similarly financed. The discussions related to the concretisation of the financing system are still underway.


What else is being updated?


The Performing Arts Institutions Act describes several work processes related to the functioning of performing arts institutions; these have been reviewed and updated based on current practices. There are also many other laws related to the Performing Arts Institutions Act, incl. the Copyright Act, Legal Deposit Act, Archives Act, Foundations Act, etc. In preparation for the new version, the amendments and requirements of these laws have been reviewed and the new version has been brought into compliance with them, and duplications have been avoided.


Who is affected by the amendments to the law?


The planned amendments to the law affect all of the many performing arts institutions, in both the musical and theatrical field, including the national opera, the activities of which are regulated separately by the National Opera Act. Indirectly, the amendments to the law impact all the people working in performing arts institutions. The audiences of the performing arts institutions are also an affected target group, and the amendments provide an even greater opportunity to support diversity in these fields of activity and the availability of performing arts in all the regions of Estonia.


What is the schedule for amending the law?


The draft amendments to the Performing Arts Institutions Act underwent a coordination round in May of 2018. We received answers and supplementary proposals from all the larger partner organisations. In 2019 we reviewed the proposals and organised additional discussions. An updated version of the law will be sent for approval in the first half of 2020.


Katre Väli
Adviser for Theatre

Phone: 6 282 212


Last updated: 14 January 2020