Mirko Rajas and Taavi Tõnisson



Open class
21.10.2023 15:00 EAMT black box



Object Theatre

In this masterclass, we will delve into the intricate connections between individuals and objects and the interactions among objects themselves. How do these inanimate items influence people and the dynamics between them? What layers of significance do objects bring to human relationships? What narratives can be unearthed from the very essence of objects? And how does the interplay of rhythm and animation enrich these narratives? Can objects possess an inherent “charge”?

The primary objective of this masterclass is to encourage students to think more abstractly and symbolically, unveiling the potential for play and the creation of meaning through physical objects.

During this workshop, we will craft visual representations and narrate stories through these representations. We recognise that there may not be one ultimate truth; instead, we rely on our intuitions and a desire to explore. The workshop does not aim to provide definitive answers. Its purpose is to foster a spirit of experimentation, boldly embrace errors, and continuously explore all conceivable avenues for infusing meaning into an object. No one is obliged to prove anything; the goal is to revel in creation’s delight and ignite the imagination.


Puppet Animation Fundamentals

In this masterclass, we embark on a journey into the realm of bringing inanimate objects to life. We explore how seemingly “lifeless” paper dolls can attain an equal partnership with actors by infusing them with breath, character, and the actor’s will through play. Together with participants, we craft the essential tools—dolls—during the workshop, and in the practical segment, we engage in a series of exercises, traversing the spectrum from abstraction to concreteness and vice versa. The masterclass’s core objective is to swiftly instil a “puppet mindset” in performers/actors while equipping them with the fundamental techniques of puppet animation.


Mirko Rajas

Mirko Rajas (born on March 4, 1988) is an actor and director. Since 2017, he has been the Artistic Director of the Estonian Theatre for Young Audience. He graduated from the Vanalinna Hariduskolleegium Theatre class and furthered his puppet and visual theatre directing education at the Turku Arts Academy. For a considerable period, he has served as a special instructor at the Estonian Theatre for Young Audiences’s youth studio and the Vanalinna Hariduskolleegium theatre department.

Mirko Rajas is a versatile director who has brought numerous productions to the stage for children, young audiences, and adults. His directorial work seeks to explore the intersection of visual and psychological theatre. In his productions, he demonstrates the ability to delve deep into the characters’ inner world, examining complex psychological relationships and conflicts while utilizing the visual language of theatre while maintaining a dialogue with classical drama theatre. In addition to his directing work, he has conducted several masterclasses in the fundamentals of puppet animation for young actors. These masterclasses primarily focus on acquiring basic techniques, nurturing imagination, cultivating attention, and fostering a sense of ensemble. By combining various exercises and playful scenarios, participants can explore puppet theatre’s versatility while expressing their personal artistic creativity.


Taavi Tõnisson

Taavi Tõnisson is an actor, puppeteer and director who works in Estonian Theater for Young Audiences. He is a versatile artist who has graduated from the Culture Academy of Viljandi (Estonia) as a drama actor and Russian State Institute of Performing Arts as a puppeteer and director. His career started in musicals (“Oliver Twist”, “The Cabaret”, “Grease”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “High School Musical”). In 2004, he joined the family of Estonian Theatre for Young Audiences (former NUKU) and has played leading roles in numerous puppet performances: “The Gamblers”, “Buratino” (directed by Evgeny Ibragimov,  “Detox the Dummy” (directed by Duda Paiva), “The Ghost of Centerville“ (directed by Anna Brašinskaya), “Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin” (directed by Mirko Rajas), “The Overcoat” (directed by Daniil Zandberg) etc. In 2013-2017, he was the artistic director of the Estonian Theater for Young Audiences (former NUKU). He has also participated in Estonian TV series and given his voice to many animation characters. 

Taavi combines drama with puppetry, physical theatre and visual theatre elements in his work. His works are dynamic and multi-layered (“Little Gavroche”, “Cosette”, “Gulliver”, “ The Process”, “The Sweetness at the Bottom of a Pie” “Timm Thaler or a Trained Laughter”, “Ronja the Robbersdaughter”, “Robin Hood”, “The Tindrum”, “The Metamorphosis” etc.)