Jaan Tooming

Jaan Tooming

Jaan Tooming (born 28 March 1946) is a theatre director, actor and writer.

Tooming was born in Tallinn as the son of writer Osvald Tooming. Jaan Tooming completed Tallinn Secondary School No. 7 in 1964 and in 1968 graduated from Tallinn State Conservatoire in the speciality of drama.

From 1968–1969, he was an actor at the Estonian Youth Theatre, from 1969–2009, actor and director of the Vanemuine Theatre, from 1979–1983 also artistic director of the Ugala Theatre. In 1972–1976 and 1985–1989, Tooming (together with Ülo Vilimaa) taught the Vanemuine Theatre Studio. The main part of his creative activity has been associated with Tartu. In 2005, Tooming founded the Sagar Sagitta Theatre.

He has also directed plays in Finland and Germany, television plays (Elujõgi – ‘River of Life’, 1970; Ebajumal – ‘Idol’, 1991) and films (Värvilised unenäod – ‘Colourful Dreams’, in cooperation with Virve Aruoja, 1975, Tallinnfilm; Põrgupõhja uus Vanapagan – ‘The Misadventures of the New Satan’, 1978; Mees ja mänd – ‘Man and Pine’, 1980, both Eesti Telefilm) and played in films. Tooming has been a member of the Estonian Theatre Union from 1977, Estonian Directors’ and Dramaturgs’ Union from 1993 and Estonian Writers’ Union from 2009. His brother was photographer Peeter Tooming, his son is philosopher Uku Tooming.

Jaan Tooming’s poems appeared under the pseudonym of Lapard in the journal Looming from 1972. His first poetry collection Rist on kasvanud kõiksusest läbi (‘The Cross has Grown through the Universe’) appeared in 1999. Works of literature in different styles and several genres followed: a “notebook novel”, collections of poetry and essays. He has published numerous articles on cultural themes and social criticism.  Like his theatrical productions, his written texts are characterised by expressivity and revolt against everything low and mediocre. Jaan Tooming has mentioned Uku Masing’s strong influence on his creation and personality.

In 2001, Tooming received the Order of the White Star, Class 4; in 2004, the year the Estonian National Culture Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award; in 2012, the Estonian National Lifetime Achievement Award for Culture.

L. P. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Rist on kasvanud kõiksusest läbi. Tallinn: Logos, 1999. 63 lk.
Huum: luule ja lausumised 1975–2005. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2006. 135 lk.
Yles- ja allavoolu: mõtisklusi värsis ja proosas, enamik kirja pandud 20. sajandi viimasel kümnendil ja 21. sajandi algul. Tartu: Johannes Esto Ühing, 2009. 182 lk.

Hommikumõlgutused: pojale Ukule. Tartu: Johannes Esto Ühing, 2007. 48 lk.
Teekond mäe südamesse: märkmikromaan. Tallinn: Varrak, 2007. 165 lk.
Valge pilv ja rohukõrs: aastalõpu 10 mõlgutust [mõtisklused, laulud, killud, palved]. Tartu: Johannes Esto Ühing, 2007. 55 lk.

Religioossed motiivid minu loomingus. Tallinn: Eesti Teatriliit, 2011. 269 lk.
Teater kui saladus: šamaanid, näitlejad, näidendid. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2015. 173 lk.