Little more about TÜT

Rituals – accepting new members every autumn, party of starting the season, christmas party, party of ending the season (+ N-Object, award for the TÜT member of the year), summer school, different international festivals, premiere parties, last-performance-parties.

1.Trials for new members. This is probably the most important ritual of TÜT. It is absolutely essential for defining the theatre for what it really is. One of the main features of TÜT is its inconstancy. The members are mainly students and therefore have very mobile lifestyle. One year, they are in Tartu, the next they can be anywhere in the
world. Therefore the need for new actors is present every autumn, when the trials are held. Also it is noteworthy that not every talented person gets through the trials – they are also selected on the basis of their personalities – will they fit into the group or not – for
quite obvious reasons, because theatre cannot be good without cowork between the members. The tasks given to the candidates are also noteworthy. Generally they
are alike all the assignments given anywhere you can trial as an actor. But, there are some tasks that recur every year, which test not only the candidates' talent but their nerves. Assignments like „open the door and then you are told who or what is behind it, you react“ are regular. But this who or what can be, for example, „a naked man with two penises“. This is actually one of the tasks that recur every year and from the candidates' reaction quite much can be derived – can they fit in with the old members' liberal view on life, can they dig the humour; and maybe most importantly – will they be able to hand the
absurd and grotesc themes discussed in the forthcoming performances?
2.The parties mentioned above can probably be discussed under one point because their structure is alike. Usually there is no strict programme. At first glasses are raised (for the new performance, for the new years etc) all together (first toast is usually „Sõbrad, me
oleme jälle kõik koos, hurraa“ / “Friends, we are all together again, hooray“) and then comes usual socialising, eating, drinking, dancing, singing (both of the latter activities are very popular among TÜT members), joking, smoking. The parties tend to end very late.
There is one special ritual during the christmas party, and that is of course the Santa Claus, impersonated every year by a different person. All the theatre members bring gifts without nametags and they are given to someone chosen by faith. There are also colorful performances made for getting the present.
There is also an important ritual during the ending-season-party and that is the „N-Object“. N-Object is a random thing actually, quite often handmade and wooden. A voting takes place to find out which theatre member was, in the mind of others, the best during the past year. Then he or she gets this N-Object, which is made by the previous
title-owner, and is obliged to make the new one for the next year.
3.Summer school and winter camp are both 3-4 day campings in the countryside, where seminars are held, workshops are made, games are played, usually there is also party and sauna. These events are both for socialising and for learning new things to improve the theatre skills.
4.International festivals are also quite important for the theatre. The members say that they feel that they are even more famous in some countries where they have played during the festivals than in Estonia. That is also noteworthy because in Estonia a student theatre is always classified as „amateurs“, whereus internationally TÜT is often concerned professional. That also adds a notch to TÜT as a subculture in the periphery of Estonian theatre life.
TÜT has visited quite many different countries: Finland, Great Britain, Lithuania, Russia (2 times), Sweden, France, Czech (2 times), Belgium (3 times), Morocco, Belorussia (4 times), Canada, Colombia. Traditions concerning the festivals are still hard to define. For
example, Belorussian festival, which the theatre has visited 4 times already, has its own traditions for TÜT already. Others are a bit harder to generalise. Still, the merging especially during the festivals, is characteristic, as well as some events like National
Evening. Festivals are considered parties – in addition to daytime theatre-visiting, estonian spirit is held high in the evenings as well.


 TÜT members do have a very significant slang. It can mostly be divided into three parts – phrases from performances integrated into everyday life; phrases of making jokes about themselves or imitating the others (especially director Kalev Kudu, but the actors as well); random phrases arising from a lot of time spent together (especially during festivals or intensive rehearsal-period).

In addition, we believe that all the people who spend their time doing theatre, have a lot of words unknown to the people engaged in other things (“aksid”, “rekvisiidiks jooma”, “stuudio”, “uchimata”, “suzuki”, “etüüd”, “nulltasand”, “tee kuidagi nii, et oleks parem” etc)

 1.      Phrases from performances

It is a rule, that when a text is so much worked on as it is done in the theatre, it can never remain just a text. It becomes an intertext, for it will have allusions to many different texts. And these sentences, words, phrases, which become a slang, differ from these which don't exactly because of their potential of intertextuality. These phrases usually refer to another theatre text (allusions with previous performances) or a situation in real life (as the text currently worked on is in the mind of the actors most of time, they tend to find real-life-situations where the phrase is as useful as in the play). But when used effectively in the real life, the phrase ceases to be just a sentence from the play, it will have even more connections with the given situation (for the people who are present in the situation, at least), and so every time later the phrase is used in the performance, it already has a completely different meaning for the actors.
In addition, it is noteworthy that when a performance is worked on or performed, there are very many this kind of slang-phrases. But as time goes on, they dissapear – but the ones having the greatest potential for usage in everyday life, stay in the language for years.
Examples: “astumegi siis sisse”, “jõudsimegi pärale”, “sõbrad, me oleme jälle kõik koos, hurraa”, “ei – see pole seda – ei”, “tobu-tobu-tobu”, “sada franki liiter”, “mis see on?”. 

2.      Imitation of the members

            As mentioned above, these phrases are usually about imitating the director. He is           a very controversial person, and in addition he tends to repeat the words he is          speaking; also he repeats some themes throughout the years (famous sentences          about paying the membership fee; about being a professional director etc). And             also, when he has had one more drink than needed, he swears like hell (and does that while he stutters). All these traits of character are made fun of throughout           TÜT history.
            Examples: “tissidtissidtissid”, “nahhuinahhuinahhui”, “Kalev Kudu 20             seksinippi:perssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersseperssepersse”,“sularaha, sularaha”,  “noored tüdrukud, noored tüdrukud!”, “would you like some coffee at my place?         I have my own apartment. by the way I am the most famous actor of Estonia!“,     “my friend my friend! you are my best friend!”, etc etc etc.
            Of course, Kalev is also made fun of on the basis of other things. That is just      because the special relationship between actor and director + Kalev's specific    way of being. So there are also many jokes about his last name, for example:
            “naiskudukaitse”, “kalev kudu mulle kampsun”, “kudukogud”.
            One person who answered the questionnaire, said even that “Kudu himself is a word/joke/phrase, that people outside TÜT cannot understand”.
            Of course the actors are made fun of as well, and again, on the basis of their      special characteristics. We believe that as actors' job is to imitate the others it is      most essential of their behaviour to search and find such characteristics from the        others that can abbreviate their whole personalities. 
            I believe that examples here are already so “inside” that there is no point of        writing them, but to avoid later complaints: “peeter väga ägestunult: kas see on         muudatus? ma küsin, et kas see on muudatus? kalev tasaselt: jah see on        muudatus. peeter: nii et see on siis muudatus? kalev: jah peeter. peeter: no            selge, see on siis muudatus.”, “viska viis jou jou jou”, “jumala eest”,           “aeiiiiäääääõõõõõh”, “mine vittu!”. Of course, all of these phrases are in a quite        strict relation with specific body movement.  

 3.      Random phrases

These are just phrases, jokes and terms of the good time spent together. Basically they have the greatest potential of the three groups to enter everyday language, because only they (and only sometimes) can be used in conversations with people not belonging to TÜT – even if they don't know the background of the phrases, they can mostly understand, what is meant by it.
Examples: “esimunn”, “rohkem nooruslikku entusiasmi”, “säilitagem rõõmsat meelt eksistentsialismilabürintides”, “tašota”, “many, different, erinevaid”, “a see on hea”, “tark ei torma”, “kuidagi rahutu on olla”, “anna aega atra seada”.
To this group also belong the nicknames given to the members by the members for the members. Usually not used anywhere in the outer circle.



– now, in the context of TÜT as a subculture in mainstream theatre culture, it is important to understand that TÜT has no owned premises. For its rehearsals and performances the rooms are rented, and they are always located in different parts of Tartu. So, the main time spent together – rehearsals, performances, and socializing after them – isn’t really located in a specific space. Still – all these rooms used in the past leave a mark on the members, they connect different places with certain plays etc. For the members of TÜT from the first few years of existance Sõbramaja/Studentshouse at Kalevi street was the most important place and “room equivalent” for TÜT. After that there has been no specific room used and therefore the attidude towards rooms has changed. Answers from the questionnaire also suggest that many people consider the best place to be “where the friends are”.
The TÜT parties also always take place on different premises. If the members have to answer their favourite place to spend free time, it’s Genialistide klubi. But it is very noteworthy, that the questions weren’t posed to them as to “the members of TÜT” but as to a citizen of Tartu. So, in my opinion, all we can derive from this answer – are values again. Values of affermative attitude towards alternativity. There are also certain places which the members associate with TÜT – one of them is offcourse Gen club because they have had performances there, but there are others as well, like Illegaard, which has constantly been one of the most popular places which TÜT members visit together. Resently Krüpt in the Literature House of Tartu has been important, because they play their newest performance there end most of the recent parties have been held there.
There are also rooms where rehearsals are held which usually are the same, but tend to change from time to time, and therefore there are no general laws developed concerning these.   
It’s also important to note that TÜT isn’t happy not having a room that they can call their own. They feel that having no certain and consistent place leads to uncertainity and unconsistency among the members and about their future. This also leads to the question of identity – not among the members of TÜT but rather among their audience. More accurately – they don’t have a consistent audience and that is considered as a result of endless moving. This also bring up all kinds of creative problems as well: no consistent repertoire, the number of rehearsals is limited etc. It can be said that having no certain rooms is a problem from the point of view of their artistic production, but it doesn’t seem to bother the members as long as they routinely meet and have their traditional events.   


 People of TÜT are located certainly somewhere away from the mainstream culture. They don’t value consumerism – that can be derived from the answers concering clothing, music. They love to socialize, to sing, to make music. They admire sincerity, intelligence, good humour. By admiering sincerity they also appreciate diversity of all kinds. They are open to communication with a wide range of individuals for different subcultures. One reason for that is because they want to be very diverse themselves, they want to have an open mind to everything (including music and clothes), to understand other people. This can be related to the fact that they have to act out different personalities on stage. They also seem to have an urge of beeing a reneissance person who does everything – act, sing, dance, play an instrument, write music, know everything about everything etc. It’s not a rule, but it sometimes gleams through, specially from the behaviour of younger members. Older members aren’t so eager about improving any more, but they still would like to be able to do and to know more. In the questionaires most members of TÜT anwered that thay are happy when they achieve their goals. Here we also see their need to escalade, to reach somewhere, not to stay put. All sort of improving is highly valued.  

TÜT members enjoy having good people around them, spending time with them, having conversations, making music, telling jokes, going out and everything else imaginable. They spend a lot of time on their friends and they are willing to give up almost everything else to be with them (often including their studies or other activities).  

Here we actually see a conflict of values. Being with friends often involves alcohol and that really get in the way of achieving goals. By observing the active members of TÜT, we have noticed that they trink more often than they answerd in our questionaire (avarege answer – once a week). There are also a lot more smokers, than there are by the answers given. We can conclude from this, that the members of TÜT don’t want to admit that their partying etc may get in the way of achieving thair goals. It may be that TÜT members look for comforting from each other – they have a very open and trusty relationship among themselves, so when they feel that they aren’t achieving their goals they look for consolation form people just like themselves. 

Blog-subculture vol 2

It has been a while since we’ve done any posting but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t done our research. We have been busy looking at blogs, I have been busy writing my blogs – basically we have done some groundwork and we have even asked some questions from different bloggers. We are in the midst of processing the answers, but the:

Questions that we have been asking from bloggers:

  1. What were the main reasons to start your blog? Have those reasons changed over the years? Why? (How many years have you been blogging?)
  2. How many different blogs have you had/have? (If more than one, state some reasons.)
  3. What are the main topics you discuss in your blog? Why?
  4. How do your blog posts look like visually? What kind of different mediums and materials do you use? Why?
  5. Do you write it to address someone in particular or is blogging like writing a diary?
  6. How many blogs do you read? Why? What kind of blogs? If not, why?
  7. How would you describe your blog post’s atmosphere: positive, negative, neutral?
  8. How does your blog look like? Why?
  9. Has blogging influenced your personality, sociability, friendships with friends (blog-readers) – the life outside blogging?
  10. How would you describe your personal style: clothing, music, movies etc etc. Who are you? – write a couple of paragraphs about „YOU“.

 Since I myself am a blogger (Getter) I also prepared my answers to questions that Mari-Liis had constructed for bloggers (since she is an outsider we thought it would be better if the questions were formed by her). So here are my answers to the 10 questions that in our opinion give a very good insight into this type of subculture.


  1. I remember I started writing in my diary almost daily in a very young age and at first it seemed that I was writing for nobody, just my „diary“. But as the time went on I think I had the need to express myself to others, to share my thoughts with my closest friends – this being my everyday life, my thoughts about school, ideas about future etc. The idea of writing a movie blog came in the beginning of this year because I really wanted to put my knowledge of movies into the world. So you might say that the reasons have changed indeed, I’ve gone more global – I no longer write to my closest friends, I write to everybody who is interested (the blog is in English). So I have basically been blogging almost 4 years, but the last year I have been blogging much more than before.
  2. I mentioned 2 blogs before but I actually have a third blog also which I share with my close friend. Reasons why I have 3 different ones is to separate them theme wise – one is in Estonian (for friends, more personal), one is about movies and in English (for all who might stumble on it) and the third is something I share with my friend about almost everything and also in English (except movies – since I have a separate blog about that).
  3. I’ve pretty much answered this question already, a nice thing about bloggers, we tend to talk about things in a very wide sense – I’ve noticed this at least. But to list all the topics: personal thoughts, school, family, friends, stuff I’ve done, places I’ve been, books, movies, TV-shows, actors/actresses, directors, music, fashion, art, style, travel, food, photography etc. Basically, everything there is about culture and life that appeals to me or I go through.
  4. My Estonian blog is mostly only text and no visuals at all – at least this has been like that for a while. At the beginning there were posts with one picture or to, depending on the length of the post. Movie blog is combined with text, pictures and videos of movie trailers. Third blog uses pictures, music videos and there is little or no emphasis on the text – so it focuses mostly on the visual effect while the first two are mainly based on the text with some visual aids.
  5. The need to put down your feelings is in my mind mostly for my own satisfaction. I mean, I don’t get any comments, no discussions emerge after I publish my post so maybe the first blog is mostly for me. But since I have three I think my blog owning is divided into two sides – in some ways I want to express myself in a deeper level which is like writing a diary while the other blogs are aimed at a much larger group of people (I’m not specifically thinking about a certain group of people, just in general).
  6. There are 6 blogs by my friends and then there are variety of blogs I visit mostly for my own pleasure – but if I’d have to name a number it would be 5-10 blogs, so I read 16 blogs (not all daily, sometimes I visit blogs once a week).
  7. It is quite funny actually, the three blogs represent all three of them – first one is negative (mostly because I tend to write my blog only when I have a really bad mood), movie blog is rather neutral because it has good and bad reviews so I’d say it stays in the middle and the third blog was actually created to be inspirational so it is only positive – no personal drama or stuff we don’t like! (Might even say the third blog is therapeutic ..)
  8. First two are minimal, but visuals are in my opinion needed to create an atmosphere. The third one is pretty much packed with a lot of pictures – but at the mean while I like to keep the blogs clean, organized, good for the eye etc. It doesn’t have any flashy stuff, it doesn’t have any unnecessary short cuts, it is easy to use, you open the blog and you know what it’s all about.
  9. Just recently I came across this amazing thing. I posted a review about a TV-show and „advertised“ it (sent out the link through some canals) and it got translated into Italian and Spanish. I didn’t even know that people went through so much trouble to post something, but the fan sites (which some what are also blog related) do those things. And that influenced me in some ways because one thing is to write to your friends but the other thing is when a complete stranger writes something back to you, translates your writing – it gives you a kind of satisfaction that you know what you are talking about. Has it changed me personally? I don’t think that it has changed me but I think I  have gotten an opportunity to come out of my shell a little bit. And if I get comments and a lot of views during the day I have a better mood.. it is funny like that, numbers sometimes mean a lot.
  10. Comfort is my first priority but I don’t mind fixing myself up when needed. Music is mostly indie-rock-alternative but I don’t mind pop, rock or hip-hop – everything except heavy metal is okay (I think it has to do with the fact that I am a lyrical person). Movies I watch are mostly for entertainment but a serious movie now and then also. So this pretty much says that I don’t have specific style nor taste, I like variety and different things, I like sci-fi movies and comedy shows, I like to wear all black but I also like color. I am outgoing and I like to stay in doors. I don’t think that I represent a certain type of a person at all.


So here were my answers to the 10 questions and one thing is for sure, since I myself have three different blogs, this pretty much sums up a lot for our topic. (based on the information we have now).

Since we have done one previous post before and this one is also pretty thorough we were thinking that the next step would be a post about some of the links (articles, tips etc) we have read that are related to the topic. We'll try to do this later this week and after that we would have the final results of our research.

Meanwhile, there is actually a "Blogging for dummies" book published in 2006.

Getter Trumsi
Mari-Liis Meesak


History of Poker

The origin of Poker - arguably the most influential card game of all time - is actually quite unclear. Poker history is unverified and unauthorized until date. It is believed to have begun in China by 900 AD and is believed to have evolved as a domino game that was played by the emperors of China. But, another source tells that the poker history begins in the 17th Centaury in Persia and was played by the name Nas. Nas did not have 52 cards in the deck rather it had just 25 cards with 5 different suits. It is believed to have been picked up by the French Settlers by the Persian sailors.

There is no clear book on the history of poker because there is no real archeological evidence to prove the actual beginning of poker. Poker was played around the world as card games. All the card games that were played throughout the world were not similar rather they were in later stages considered to be a modification of the play from one country and another. The current day poker and the concepts that we play are a hybrid of the card games recorded in the history of poker from around the world.

There was the making of the bid in the history of poker, but traditionally the bidding was in kind and not money. Players used to bet ornaments, sword and some other valuable position. There are some records in history of poker for players to have used women in the bidding! When the other player wins the women belongs to the winner! Homes, agricultural land and other valuables were integral part of bidding in the history of poker but as time progressed the bidding was represented to be done only with money. And now it is done with representation of chips and money is cashed out when the player finally wins.

Per history of poker any player that did lose in gambling never did have any coaching of counseling therefore they did not find a way to quench their gambling impulse and they landed up betting and bidding until they did lose all that they had. But today there is counseling for everything and even for those that feel that they need to bet more than they can afford.

In the history of poker the tricks and strategies of any game by a champion player was kept a top secret, they never used to share ideas. Anyone that is a champion, keeps the formula himself and leaves the others worship and loose to him. A brilliant few arrive at the away to win against this kind of player. Therefore in an attempt to arrive at the formula players used to play more and more and therefore poker and gambling was considered to be of bad status.

Well, regardless of the origins of poker history the 18th century version of the 52 card deck game is being played until today and with the coming of internet and effective communication being possible instantly through the internet all of the poker world is playing the same game with the same rules, and surprisingly with internet poker players from all over the world assemble in a virtual poker table to play with each other. Whatever be the origins of poker history every form of card game had wager and cheating in it and this is the element that should have kept things interesting.
The information has found on this website:

The most interesting steps in Poker History

  • 1822 - First American casino opened in New Orleans with poker among the casino games

  • 1920s - Attempt to ban poker in United States by US government unsuccessful

  • 1970 - First World Series of Poker organized by Jack Binnion in Binnion's Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas

  • 1997 - Stu Ungar probably the most talented poker player in history of poker wins his 3rd bracelet but dies the following year

  • 200 - Chris Moneymaker wins World Series of Poker Main Event and takes prize of 2.5 Million, he qualified through 40 dollar satellite at PokerStars and starts internet poker revolution

  • 2006 - James Bond in Casino Royale saves world playing Texas Holdem Poker no limit tournament. In original novel Bond played Baccarat. Poker reaches even wider audience.

  • 2006 - UIGEA Act – Another attempt to ban poker, this time online, by US government in United States

update on our work
We are happy to announce that we have moved further from the point of pure theory and have completed our first interview!
First impressions/ideas/thoughts coming soon.

Triin & Juuli
There are many poker players all around the world. They have created their own sort of world – they have special words they use (there is an entire dictionary!), they share knowledge of the poker, they have same (or at least similar) values and interests. We are going to observe this unconventional subculture via is Estonian website, were people can study how to play poker. They can read about the game and different tournament and events, discuss game situations etc. There is a lot of this kind of sites in the Internet, but is a little bit different, because it doesn’t exist only virtually, but “in real life” as well. It means that every week organizes game nights in Tallinn (in café Tao) and in Tartu (in Spordibaas bar). Every Friday there is a freeroll (it means you don’t have to pay anything to play in the tournament), where everyone who want comes together and plays poker. There are often new players, but there are certain people who go there regularly, too.
Every week 9 best players get points:
1. place = 12 points
2. = 10 p
3. = 8 p
4. = 6 p
5. = 5 p
6. = 4 p
7. = 3 p
8. = 2 p
9. = 1 p
In the end of the month the one who has collected most points wins a ticket (value 1100 EEK) to Triobet Live tournament in Olympic casino in Tallinn and in Riga. In these tournaments you can win a lot of money. Also the one who has the most points in the end of the year gets a ticket to Estonian Poker championship (value 5000 EEK). So there is something to play for.

Summing-ups every month and in the end of the year assures that there is a certain collective as well. These are the members of the subculture of, and one part of the bigger subculture – “poker world” as such.
Players come and goes, some of them are just looking for an entertainment for one night. But where goes the line – are everybody who has played in the freeroll automatically member of this subculture? Or everybody, who study poker via website? Or do you have to be “regular player” to be a member?
We believe that before you are a true member of this subculture, you have to have knowledge of and poker as general. You have to believe that poker isn’t only luck, but abilities are more important – because it really is so. If you don’t agree with that, you can’t be part of this subculture, because poker world doesn’t relay on that. But as we said before, poker players have created their own world around this game, so values and common knowledge are important. However, we think that newbies, who don’t have a complete knowledge of poker world, are also part of this subculture. There are different levels of members and they are one of them. There are great, good, normal and bad players. Players even have created special words for these levels (we write about that more specifically under “language”).

Eliisa Matsalu
Merilyn Viin

The media news

Firstly, we are going to investigate the naming procedure by the media. How media reflects the "One-moment-stars"? Do the media always refers to the reality show, when making a story of a participant of that reality show? By which words/names is media describing the so-called "One-moment-stars"?

Example no 1. Talis Kitsing from the reality show "Bar". After participation in the reality show he gathered notoriety and mostly media referred to him as "Talis of Bar" (Baari Talis). The latter phenomenon – adding the name of a reality show to the forename of a participant – is common feature to the most of the "One-moment-stars". In media was Talis described as "usual Estonian man who loves women, vodka and hates gays", sometimes as a person who is "violent and mad". By and large was Talis Kitsing depicted as negative star, "bad guy".

Example no 2. Gabriel Kubjas from the reality show named "Farm". Here recur  again that "bad guy" motif, but in a more positive way. He was the first of the "One-moment-stars" who got the name after reality show: Gabriel of Farm (Farmi Gabriel). In media is Gabriel described as "a beautiful man" or someone who is "every woman's dream". Howbeit he was rather followed by bad reputation: man with no taste in clothing,  sometimes violent and somewhat jaybirdish. See for example the decription of a fight in the show between him and Kalle: Gabriel got drunk and “kicked his companion”. The outcome of this fight was that Gabriel got expelled from the show. Compared to Talis, Gabriel enjoyed his fame more and apparently had more benefit from the participation in reality show: at the moment he works as a stripper (= a show-man). 

From these examples we can conclude that the persons who want to be news-worthy have to act scandalously, i.e they have to “make news”. The vocabulary used is also refers to scandals, extreme qualities of the individuals; this is what the tabloid journalism is about, after all. Those participants of the shows who act more quietly, are quickly forgotten, except maybe in local newspapers, because small places also need their celebrities: We can guess then that although media are in large part responsible for creating this “group” of reality stars (first, developing the setting, as mentioned in the last post, second, continuously broadcasting and creating news about these persons), the individuals must also act accordingly to fit the scandalous profile of the group. In the next post then we are going to look what the members of reality-stars have to say about themselves.

Ott Puumeister / Tiiu Tali

improve your language competence!

1. keep the distance with yourself and the others
1.1. sense of humor
1.2. use mirror
1.3. use different roles consciously following pragmatics

2. study the other – learn languages

3. politics should be included – politics should never dominate in your motivation

4. be kind and positive to the environment,
4.1. be ready to react adequately

5. analyze yourself - keeping everyday diary on cognitive dissonances,
6. articulate your desires


Tartu Student Theatre can be viewed as a subculture in two different contexts – in the wider way, as a subculture in Tartu context, or as a subculture in mainstream/professional theatre culture.


Tartu Student Theatre doesn’t classify as something usually understood as subculture. That means, the members don’t have conjoining music or clothing style. On the contrary, the tastes in these areas are quite different. Some similarities can still be found – most of the people who have answered our questionnaire declare themselves not to be interested in what they are wearing, and claim that they listen to almost any music which goes together with their mood (which can be very different). But these similarities lead to the one (and at first seemingly, only) point that unites the members – values.


But before coming to this point, we would like to expound why do we think that Tartu Student Theatre (TÜT) can be defined as a subculture at all.


Being now 11 years old, accepting new members every year, TÜT has about 120 members all together. Still, they are not all active members – many of them have left Tartu, and some of them have never taken much part of the theatre life. That is a very important point actually – because from that fact it can easily be derived that it is not only theatre that unites these members – those people who don’t find The Communion Feeling with others, dissapear quite quickly. On the other hand, those who find this feeling, strictly speaking, don’t dissapear even if they move away and don’t take an active part. For example, TÜT has a group of alumni, spread over Estonia, who, although they seldom meet, still support TÜT both mentally and materially.

A good example of TÜT members meeting each other for the first time was the celebration event of TÜT 10th year anniversary. There old members met new members and vice versa. Their clicking from the first moment was a phenomenon. It seemed that all these people had similar values and personalities that fit with each other. This really gave us the impulss to examine this phenomenon.  


Hoping that we have proved our point – that TÜT really is a subculture – we will now explore it more closely.


Rituals – accepting new members every autumn, party of starting the season, christmas party, party of ending the season (+ N-Object, award for the TÜT member of the year), summer school, different international festivals, premiere parties, last-performance-parties.

(longer description of the traditions within will follow later)


Language – TÜT members do have a very significant slang. It can mostly be divided into three parts – phrases from performances integrated into everyday life; phrases of making jokes about themselves or imitating the others (especially director Kalev Kudu, but the actors as well); random phrases arising from a lot of time spent together (especially during festivals or intensive rehearsal-period). It will be analysed more closely later.


Places – now, in the context of TÜT as a subculture in mainstream theatre culture, it is important to understand that TÜT has no owned premises. For its rehearsals and performances the rooms are rented, and they are always located in different parts of Tartu. So, the main time spent together – rehearsals, performances, and socializing after them – isn’t really located in a specific space. Answers from the questionnaire also suggest that many people consider the best place to be “where the friends are”. The TÜT parties also always take place on different premises. If the members have to answer their favourite place to spend free time, it’s Genialistide klubi. But it is very noteworthy, that the questions weren’t posed to them as to “the members of TÜT” but as to a citizen of Tartu. So, in my opinion, all we can derive from this answer – are values again. Values of affermative attitude towards alternativity.


Idols – most of the members don’t claim to have an idol. It was claimed many times that they want to decide about their lives themselves, not linger to anyone else. But we would like to emphasize that there still is a central figure in TÜT – and that is the director Kalev Kudu. He is certainly not an idol in the sense that the term is usually understood. But he is still very important. In such an unstable theatre as TÜT is – meaning, a lot of changing members, no own premises, not very stable income etc etc etc – he is the only stable element. He was one of the creators of the theatre and is still the main director. In theatre circles TÜT is often known not as TÜT but as “Kudu’s theatre”. He brings the themes to the actors and his absurd-centered view on life is common to most of the members. The relationship with the actors is of course very different, and sometimes difficult, but there is nothing astonishing about it, for the director-actor relationship, or more widely, the relationship between to creators can be nothing but intrigueging, at least sometimes.

Kudu is a very controversial person and therefore most times TÜT members mention him, they do it ironically or critically. Jokes about Kudu are one uniting theme for TÜT members through time. Still the members know that the theater wouldn’t exist without Kudu. That’s the reason why respect for him still remains.   


Values – people of TÜT are located certainly somewhere away from the mainstream culture. They don’t value consumerism – that can be derived from the answers concering clothing, music. They love to socialize, to sing, to make music. They admire sincerity, intelligence, good humour. What makes them happy is achieving their goals and good people around them.

Here we actually see a conflict of values. Beeing with friends often involves alcohol and that really get in the way of achieving goals. By observing the active members of TÜT, we have noticed that they trink more often than they answerd in our questionaire (avarege answer – once a week). There are also a lot more smokers, than there are by the answers given. We can conclude from this, that the members of TÜT don’t want to admit that their partiing etc may get in the way of achieving thair goals.  

Opinions, notes on Oss from outsiders
I will post now the answers to my questionnaire, I have received. Unfortunately, not many answered, only six. I have summarized the answers to questions 1, 2, 4, 5, while with the 3rd one I´ve just retellingly translated the individual answers.

1. How would You define oss? (feel free to describe the look, behaviour, values, use of language and anything else You consider important in defining)

Appearance: There is basically two variants, that can exist in a mixed form : a) short haircut, training suit or just training trousers of polyester/nylon; t-shirt; sometimes a leather jacket b) club-oss: light-blue jeans; white or light-coloured sporty sneakers; a sweatshirt either with hood or without/ a more retro style sweatshirt with a zipper; the fringe of the hair is set upwards with some hair-product. For both styles, brands have a big importance. As for accesories, necklaces are probably most spread. One of the answerers thinks, that the club-oss is a newer trend, that appeared some five years ago, when the typical rullnokk, not caring of his appearance suddenly started caring, so nowadays it isn´t an exception to the rule, that an oss visits a solarium. However, this change in appearance does not affect their behaviour.

Behaviour: impolite: heavy use of vulgarities, spitting on the street, . A person who feels a strong desire to belong to a group and to appeal to his friends, others: look cool, funny, rich, independent, bold, stylish. Emotionally crude, lack of empathy, limited imagination, self-centred. Feels the constant need to prove his manliness (which becomes manifested in his banal speech, picking on somebody weaker, breaking the social norms - destroying public property). To win the favor of his companions, he readily abandons his beliefs and opinions. He is (partly to due frequent alcohol abuse) often aggressive. Doesn´t enunciate himself very clearly.

Interests: Oss have often limitated education. Some have quit school. If they do study, then vocational schools are popular, especially vocations of carpentry and building. Interested in cars (especially BMW-s), parties, alcohol, to some extent women. A typical oss earns his living as a builder or in a car workshop. They tend to gather in semi-large groups at shopping-centres or the parking lots of the shopping-centres, where they drive from one parking lot to another. Listen music with bass-beat, loudly. Asides from heavy alcohol use, are oss associated with ecstasy-use.

2. According to EKSS (Estonian descriptive dictionary) can oss(jõmm/rullnokk) only be male. However, do You think that female oss exist? If yes, then what are the differences with male oss.

Here, the answers are a bit mixed. Three don´t believe that female oss exist. They would rather draw a line and say that the females make their own subculture: piff or tibi (chick). Others think that female oss exist, but they are harder to take notice of by appearance, while they share much of the behaviour. One thinks that there are procentually fewer females. Female oss would be sunburnt to the extreme, with light blonde or (dyed) black hair, wear extensive make-up. A typical job would be a shop-assistant, saleswoman. They listen to similar music and hang out at the same places as oss. They are also believed to drink as much alcohol as the males.

3. What is Your personal experience, history with oss? (Have the contacts been positive/negative? Did You grew up among oss? Have You later realized, that You too were once an oss? etc.) Describe Your most remarkable experience with oss.

1. Her experiences with oss have been suprising, as the people who would stereotypically fall under the category oss according to appearance, have not behaved oss-like , when being in a mixed company. One experience she did remember: During her work-time, one man called loudly to others, referring to her: "Who will do her first...".


2. He has limited experiences with oss, as he does not like communicating with them. He has acquaintances, that in one point were very oss-like, but later on became more "normal", in a non-oss way. There have been arguments, as oss are often aggressivly minded and start picking on people, whos appearance they don´t like. He hasn´t had any physical conflicts however.


3. She has had very varying experiences. Positive: memories of two childhood friends - one who later went "a bad way", the other, who she finds quite reasonable, and who talks a mix of võru dialect and oss sociolect. Also as a positive example, she mentions an archaeologist, who is quite oss-like. At one point he can talk about cars and speeding-tournaments and the next moment about municipal protection and the burialplaces and -customs in Ida-Virumaa. Negative: just when seeing unfamiliar oss on the streets, behaving unpleasantly.

4. He is originally from Jüri, North-Estonia, which he thinks is a quite dense with oss. In the eight grade, his parallelclassmate crashed his car, crippling the answerers classmate. A couple of years later a girl from basic school broke another girls nose, because she moved in front of her in school cafeteria line. He mentions also an incident where somebody drove a car into the grocery.

His contacts with oss have mostly been negative, as he had smart (nerdy) older brothers and a haircut cut by his mother. He mentions one more incident from school-time, when a boy sawed through a working bench with a handsaw, while grinning maniacaly.

5. She hasn´t had any close encounters. But she thinks that her driving teacher may fall into the category of oss. Asides from the appearance (very shor hair, training trousers, bear-belly), the teacher also uses unpleasant expressions, such as (difficult to translate into English): "Kas keerame vasakule? - Ei, keeratakse taha, meie pöörame vasakule!" ("taha keerama" - take one from behind in sexual act; "keerama" and "pöörama" both translate to "turn" in English).


6. When she was 12-14 years old, she belonged to a group with strong oss-tendencies. They listened to club music, went to the "children-discos" at Atlantis, put make-up on, drank and smoke. But she thinks that they weren´t half as bad as todays oss are, as they all got themselves together, finished schools, they didn´t have so strong, unified habits, etc. She still have friends who are "a little oss", but they communicate rarely, due to difference of interests. She´s worried of her sister, though, who now belongs to one group of oss, because of the self-destructive drinking and smoking, which is common in the subculture. She has a vivid memory of one time, she worked in the school paper and made an interview with oss in Tartu Kaubamaja. It came out that they are actually great kids, have other interests besides alcohol etc. But at the same time, although she had introduced her mission to write a story about them in a school paper, they wanted to sell her some amphetamine.

4. How much is Tartu oss scene eminent/ noticable? Which places and clubs that oss prefer can You name? Do Tartu oss differ any way from: the oss of the place, You´re coming from (if that place is not Tartu) / the stereotypical oss?

Oss are especially visible at later hours, at the second half of a weekend. Their population varies from a district to district: there are lots of them in Kesklinn and Annelinn for example, while not so many in Supilinn or Karlova. They like to hang out at Kaubamaja, different parking-lots (especially those of shopping-centres), gas stations, McDonalds and other fast-food places, parks that are near to the clubs, they visit. The clubs are Club Tallinn, Atlantis, used to be Pattaya.

One girl thinks, that oss in Tartu are city-boys in a bad sense. She is originally from a small place and thinks that the oss there are more manly, who in spite of their low education, have skills in rural work - they can make hay, use a tractor etc. They have other outlets, than picking fights. Another thinks that maybe oss in Tallinn think even more better of themselves, as they live in the capital.

5. Do you consider Yourself belonging to any subculture (or did You use to)? Which one? Where do You come from?

In general, nobody connected himself/herself with any subculture. Four of the answerers are from Tartu, one is from Jüri, one is from Tallinn.

Our point of interest are the sororities of Tartu. There are alltogether three of them -

Filiae Patrie - founded 1920 (
Indla - founded 1923 (
Amicitia - founded 1924 (
[edit: it turns out that Lembela is actually situated in Tallinn]

We are not interested specifically in the history of those organisations but rather what they are today, their function in Tartu, year 2010. These sororities are united for example by the ideas of high morality, patriotism, honesty and academical thought, according to their websites. The typical requierments you have to fulfill in order to become a member are that you have to be a female university student of Estonian ethnic origin. Being moderate with alcohol and not smoking are also important as one of the principles in all sororities seems to be a healthy lifestyle.
Our aim is to carry out interviews with the members of four different sororities. We talk to 2 newer members (those who are without "colours") and 2 older members (those who have "colours") separately. Altogether the plan is to carry out 8 interviews.
We have divided our points of interest into four main categories and the interview questions also grew out of these categories.
Here is a mind map of our ideas based on viewing the websites and going to an open event of one of the sororities and talking to some people:

The questions that interest us are the following:
a) creating niches - membership/space(physically - the houses/rooms they occpupy; mentally - the closeness of the group)
b) function - keeping the status quo vs inventing, acting (also the question of how the function has changed when comparing the year the sorority was founded and now, but that is probably a larger question that needs another thorough study)
b) the concept of game (by that we mean more specifically that do you play the role of being in a sorority only during specific evenings/events; how much does being in a sorority influence your everyday "normal" life, do they stand separately or are they intertwined)

Juuli Nava
Triin Pikk


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