Merle Karusoo


The dramaturgy of her work is based on the idea that the problems of society can be articulated and analysed through theatre and its tools. Important part of this process is the ritual purification created by saying things out loud. Karusoo prefers to work with documentary materials collected by herself and the cast. Interviews, letters and diaries are the foundation for compositions that focus on personal stories that reflect the reality of many people. The topics and problems are universal and surpass borders of nationality. Karusoo’s productions tell stories and touch upon themes that are often ignored both in theatre and in the society.

Merle Karusoo has been a lecturer in the drama academies, she has written books, plays, adaptations for the stage, and compiled documentary materials for plays. In the beginning of 1980s she started collecting biographies of Estonians. Karusoo was among the first Estonian directors to start an independent theatre group at the end of the Soviet regime. She worked as stage director in the Estonian Drama Theatre for a long time until 2015. Karusoo has received many awards and prizes, in 2005 her political performance The Missionaries received annual prize of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

Translated plays:

1997 Autumn 1944 (Sügis 1944) – English

1997 Snows and Sorrow (Kured läinud, kurjad ilmad) – English

1999 Waggoners (Küüdipoisid) – English, Russian

2002 HIV (HIV) – English, Russian

2005 The Missionaries (Misjonärid) – English

Annual award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2005.

2006 Today We don’t Play (Täna me ei mängi) (with Toomas Lõhmuste) – Russian

2006 The Graduation Essay of 2005 (Küpsuskirjand 2005) – Russian