Paperclip Belt” is the debut novel written by the youngest Estonian author Mare Sabolotny. It was awarded the second place at the youth novel contest organised by the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and Tänapäev Publishers. Mare Sabolotny wrote the story when she was a 15-year-old school girl living in Tallinn. This rich insight to the lives and thoughts of young people has not reached the stage before VAT Theatre’s production. sabolotny

In VAT Theatre the story is realised in a multitude of forms: by professional performers in The National Library Theatre Hall (directed by Rein Agur), by youth theatre group of Tallinn 32. High School (directed by Margo Teder) as well as through acitivites of VAT Theatre’s forum theatre group (led by Mari-Liis Velberg) and numerous workshops...

Through the network of PLATFORM 11+ and with this production we aim to introduce Estonian youth theatre more widely in Europe and beyond.


VAT Theatre production “Paperclip Belt” company:


Director: Rein Agur, Designer: Inga Vares, Sound designer: Rivo Laasi, Choreographer: Olga Privis (Russian Theatre, Tallinn), Video artist: Taavi Varm, Lighting designer: Luise Leesment, Performers: Katariina Kabel (Drama Academy of Music and Theatre, Tallinn), Margo Teder, Meelis Põdersoo, Ago Soots, Rivo Laasi.

Premiere: April 8, 2010 

PLATFORM 11 EXHIBITION in VAT Theatre foyer, April 2010

11+ T-shirts “Your life is in your hands” team:

Tallinn 32. High School 10D drama class - Sanna Karina Aab, Evelin Ebruk, Ramo Hallik, Kerli Kivistu, Taavi Kasemägi, Eliisa Metsoja, Sandra Mirka, Mihkel Noot, Helen Männik, Eghert-Sören Nõmm, Mariin Virolainen, Kevin Väljaots,
Ardo Roosild, Kristi Tamm, Toomas Sepp, Marten Tall, Natali Joonas

& designer Inga Vares

EIGHT T-SHIRTS – These works were created in five workshops based on the story of “Paperclip Belt”. We were investigating our relationship towards the inner lives of the character, as well as how these impacted the characters’ looks and behaviour. We made plaster masks from each others’ faces. We represented the characters as living scupltures. It all resulted in paintings, character scetches, masks, and installations. A selection of these works ended up on the T-shirts, which the youth group wore as their costumes in the performance. The masks represent the inner world of VAT Theatre performance characters. We searched for soundscapes that would support the character relationships on the stage. This music and sounds can be heard in the exhibition space prior to each performance.

SEVEN T-SHIRTS the characters of the play, their relationships and encounters started revealing themselves to me as enormous landscapes made of human hands. Struggling in the mish-mash of their thoughts and attitudes, trying to smooth out what had been done and that which hadn’t. Not noticing the silence and the light. Where can you escape when the only border is your own infinity? Lines of hands shifting, directing, waiting. An chance of change. Your life is in your hands.

In this journey we encountered sincerely and unexpectedly ourselves and each other. It was all in order to stand in front of you with these works. Theatre is a mask – disguising and revelaing. A strech of hand. An encounter. (Inga, April 7, 2010)


EDUCATOR Mari-Liis Velberg:

Currently I’m the project leader for VAT Theatre forum theatre group. In the framework of PLATFORM 11+ I’m learning something that is identified as ‘educator’ :) I’ve been involved with forum theatre since 1999. I begun as a performer, later as ‘Joker’ and an initiator of many projects. As a social worker I have seen to which extent children need new and creative approaches to problem solving. This is the reason why I have very eagerly tried to further these approaches, and mainly I’ve done this through informing young people and youth workers about the methods and value of forum theatre. I also wrote my MA thesis at Tallinn University about forum theatre and it’s application in the context of school violence prevention .


My role in PLATFORM 11+ is to be the connecting link between the artists and the youth. This project inspires me because it gives me an opportunity to meet many young people and to hear their stories; through this project I also get a chance to help them in finding new ways of understanding themselves and the world. It is also important to enrich the methodology of forum theatre through the collaboration with an artist and a dramatist in order to develop the participating forum theatre members and school youth. I think that the dialogue between established theatre makers and young people is vital. Forum theatre group consists of young people, and youth-to-youth approach has proved highly fruitful, therefore I consider it a great advantage of this project.

As the aim of this project is to find real stories about youth and to create plays out of these, I believe forum theatre proves to be very useful as research methodology. All stories developed in forum theatre are REAL stories, and their addidional value lies in the fact that the youth not only finds these stories but they can also analyse the behavioural patterns of the characters and the possibility of change. It has been a novel experience for the forum group to generate stories based on an existing play. “Paperclip Belt” is also interwoven by problems and topics concering young people, and these can be successfully investigated and developed through forum theatre technique.

DRAMATIST Marion Jõepera:

I spend my days working for design studio Velvet. There I operate in the world that brings together visuals and words. I journeyed my way through PLATFORM 11+ as a dramatist. Once I graduated from a playwriting course.Marion_Joepera During this project I have collaborated, shared ideas, adapted a novel to a play, written, improvised, rewritten, followed, compared, discussed, wandered, looked around and written some more thanks to inspiration derived from:

Mare Sabolothy “Paperclip Belt”, Mari-Liis and Inga – they are both such rays of happiness and sunshine!,  Tiina and Aare (VAT Theatre), The youth group from Tallinn 32. High School, Forum theatre youth, Kristiina Jalasto, Music Explorations

DRAMATIST Kristiina Jalasto:


I’m a 25-year-old student of playwriting and dramaturgy. Before my studies I travelled the world and learned foreign languages and cultures.Right now I aspire to gain my part in Estonian culture. I joined PLATFORM 11+ just recently in order to continue the work of Marion Jõepera who is in a bit of a pickle with time.

My aim this year within PLATFORM 11+ is to co-write a play with a Slovakian playwright.


Inga_VaresI completed my scenography studies in Estonian Academy of Arts in 1998. At the moment I’m working as a freelance stage designer and teaching students of scenography. In 2007 I begun my postgraduate studies in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and my interest is to investigate the designer’s role in devising theatre.

My involvement in PLATFORM 11+:

  • Collaboration with the youth – arts workshops; collaborative exhibition in VAT Theatre foyer, april 2010;

  • Designer of “Paperclip Belt”, VAT Theatre, premiere on April 8, 2010;

  • Artist – installation in open air exhibition Plein Art, Palmela, Portugal, June 2010.

Collaborating with young people was really inspiring. Those impulses sparked many design ideas for both the youth production with Tallinn 32. High School as well as the one at VAT Theatre. Working with the same age group that is the target group for the production was an enriching and fresh experience, the impulses from collaborating with the youth were intimate and inspiring.

DIRECTOR Margo Teder:Margo_Teder

I’ve been working in VAT Theatre as an actor since 1997.
Since 1999 I’ve been involved also in forum theatre and theatre pedagogy.
Within the framework of PLATFORM 11+ I directed the drama classes of Tallinn 32. High School and facilitated the youth production  process of “Paperclip Belt”. 

DIRECTOR Siret Paju:

I studied dramaturgy and directing at The Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and I graduated in 2008. I returned to Estonia the same year and founded the playwriting school Drakadeemia. This school was a pioneer in its field, and my primary goal in starting it was to bring more variety, new voices and fresh ideas to the field of playwriting in Estonia.


My last production as a director was a site-specific promenade performance “Ei teki ega kao” (Engl title Energy Transformations) in a derelict power station on the island of Hiiumaa in Estonia.

I joined PLATFORM 11+ team this spring. So far I have been responsible for compiling the schedule of workshops taking place in Tallinn this autumn. At the end of that week in Tallinn I will devise an extraordinary performance with the participating youth.

VAT Theatre forum group:

Over the years we have facilitated many forum theatre events in Estonia. We aim to make the audience an active participant who is not only observing the performance, but who speaks up and is more empathetic in the future. We hope that forum theatre changes us, and energises the will and power to be active. “Forum theatre – come show yourself”

During project PLATFORM 11+ we are trying to see a traditional performance through the caleidoscope of forum theatre. We have done a lot of preliminary work independently and along with Tallinn 32. High School students. Through this we generated a story based on “Paperclip Belt” which we performed at the school and in Tallinn Ühisgümnaasium. We will be working on another event in the spring. Forum theatre allows the space for us to think why did such events take place and could THIS STORY end in another way?foorumgruppP11

We have collaborated with dramatist Marion Jõepera. Designer Inga Vares has given us tips from a scenographer’s perspective. We look forward to new collaborations, meeting new youth groups and writing a new story with a playwright from Slovakia.

And this is just the beginning...

YOUTH GROUP Drama group of Tallinn 32. High School class 10D

Sanna Karina, Evelin, Ramo, Kerli, Taavi, Eliisa, Sandra, Mihkel, Helen, Eghert-Sören, Mariin, Kevin, Ardo, Kristi, Toomas, Marten, Nata


From the beginning of the academic year 2009/2010 we have collaborated with VAT Theatre in project PLATFORM 11+. Over this time we’ve developed ourselves in many ways and directions. At the start Mari-Liis Velberg (forum theatre project leader) and Inga Vares (desinger and artist) introduced us their work and forum theatre methods. We participated in forum theatre and we were visited by VAT Theatre forum group. Inga Vares took us to the world of “Paperclip Belt” characters. We learned to express our feelings and the nature of fictional characters on paper. In January we were joined my Margo Teder – an actor and a director. Along with him we began to work through Marion Jõepera’s play “Paperclip Belt”. At the end of the process we came out with a full production which we performed in our school on April 1.

As we already mentioned above, we have developed SO MUCH in this project. Thanks to Mari-Liis we can resolve conflicts in our classroom more easily by analysing and observing ourselves and the others. Inga brightened up our exhausting school days, gave us inspiration and courage to express ourselves through art now and in the future. Margo taught us to think outside of the box and made us work towards a common goal. The works in the exhibition reflect our view about the production of “Paperclip Belt”.

We thank everyone who found time to work with us.