About the LTDS

The Latvian Theatre Workers’ Union (LTDS), is a non-governmental organization uniting professional theatre employees. The aims of the union are the preservation, promotion and development of Latvian theatre culture, the protection of the professional, economic and social interests of its members and the raising the prestige of theatre professionals in Latvia. The union represents the common professional, economic and social interests of its members in state, local governments and other institutions and organizations. With 580 members, the LTDS is one of the largest creative unions in the Latvian Council of Creative Unions.

Cultural policy initiatives

The LTDS is one of the largest members of the Council of Creative Unions of Latvia (LRSP), which actively participates in solving issues of the national cultural policy. The LRSP systematically works on strategic industry planning work, as well as on the development of draft laws. Four members of the Board of the LTDS – Daiga Šiliņa, Egils Melbārdis and Ojārs Rubenis – represent the theatre community in the LRSP, taking part in discussions and working groups as well as in expressing the public opinion of the community when needed. 

Ojārs Rubenis, the Chairperson of the Board of the LTDS, works in the Consultative Theatre Council of the Ministry of Culture. The activities of the non-governmental organizations in the councils of different industries ensures the smooth circulation of the information between the Ministry of Culture and the organizations of the field and provides the opportunity to react to the activities of the ministry, make suggestions, defend the interests of creative people, culture and non-governmental organizations. 

Latest achievements

  1. In 2015, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Draft Law on Creative Persons and Organizations was developed, publicly discussed and improved. 
    The law was adopted on November 22nd  2017 and entered into force on January 1st 2022. The newest amendments of the law entered into force on June 23rd 2023. 
  2. Elaboration of the support activities for creative people and cultural NGOs during Covid-19 (together with the Ministry of Culture);
  3. Establishment of the targeted grant programme, “Support for new creations” in the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia (based on the initiative of the LRSP);
  4. Establishment of the targeted grant programme “Documenting of the culture” (with the support and active participation of the LRSP)
  5. Adoption of the Law of Creative Persons and Organization.
  6. Establishment of the Award of Excellence in culture (an initiative of the LRSP)
  7. From May 2021 – the hosting of regular online seminars on planned tax changes and accountancy for creative people and NGOs organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.

In 2004, the Latvian Professional Actors Association (LaPAA) was founded by the initiative of the LTDS, uniting Latvian professional actors in the protection of their rights and taking care of the collective management of property rights. Due to the activities of the LTDS and the Association of Professional Actors, since 2016, an increase in wages has been achieved for actors and technical staff working in state-funded theatres.

The LTDS continuously monitors the changes in law and regulations, the implementation of which may seriously threaten or worsen the situation of the cultural sector:  for example, restrictions on the economic activity of NGOs, the application of VAT to cultural event tickets, etc. The LTDS is actively involved in discussions related to relevant proposals, preparing reasoned proposals and comment letters, and engaging in general discussions.

National importance culture projects and other projects organized by LTDS

Annual theatre award “Spēlmaņu nakts”

A national scale event evaluating the theatre season in state, municipal and non-governmental theatres. The LTDS organizes the work of the jury all year, programs publicity events and the annual award ceremony on November 23rd. The aim of the project is to achieve the professional evaluation of the theatre productions held and the promotion of the achievements in wider society and media.

The showcase of “Spēlmaņu nakts” nominees

During four/five days, a group of foreign theatre professionals evaluate 8 – 12 Latvian theatre productions nominated for the “Spēlmaņu nakts” award and discuss their experience. The project aims to facilitate a professional assessment from  outside and to enhance the dialogue between theatre makers and theatre critics.

Baltic Drama Forum

The LTDS, in cooperation with the Estonian Theatre Agency, the Lithuanian Theatre Information Centre and the Ministries of Culture of the respective countries organize the international theatre event – the Baltic Drama Forum – on a triennial principle. The content of the forum may differ in each country, but usually it includes a series of theatre productions, a conference or international discussion and networking events aiming to enhance the exchange of relevant information among Baltic theatre professionals. The next Baltic Drama forum in Latvia will take place in 2023.  

Awards of Excellence on Theatre Day

Awards celebrating top-notch professionalism and dedication, as well as the enhancement of the values of the theatre community in the society are nominated after great professionals – Harijs Liepiņš, Lilita Bērziņa, Eduards Smiļģis, Helēna Tangijeva-Birzniece. In addition to this, since 2016, the award named after Jēkabs Duburs (for contributions in theatre education) has been revived. 

Conversation cycle “Taste of Theatre” (Atlantis of Theatre through the Centuries) 

In autumn 2020, the LTDS, supported by the Culture Capital Foundation, implemented the project “Theatre Atlantis through the Centuries, Cycle 1” consisting of nine conversations between the nominees of the category “Young Artist of the Year” and the experienced “Old Masters” of Latvian theatre. The conversations in video, audio and printed versions were published in digital media LSM.lv, kroders.lv, magazine “Teātra Vēstnesis” as well as broadcasted by Latvian Radio and Television.

In 2021, the second cycle of conversations consisted of 10 interviews. 

In 2022, the work continued in the third cycle.  

GOLDEN FUND of Latvian theatre

Since 2007, the Golden Fund has admitted artists of special merits in theatre. Currently, the Fund consists of 20 “Old Masters” of Latvian theatre:  Elvīra Baldiņa, Uldis Dumpis, Ņina Ņeznamova, Vera Valtere-Gribača, Gunārs Placēns, Māra Zemdega, Velta Skurstene, Baiba Indriksone, Jānis Kubilis, Solveiga Raja, Silvija Bitere, Vija Blūzma, Jānis Dreiblats, Olga Dreģe, Juris Strenga, Lidija Pupure, Ilze Vazdika, Lolita Cauka,  Anta Krūmiņa, Astra Baumane.