The Drama Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya, located in a well-known ancient Moscow street, became the area’s focal point in 1962. However, the history of the theatre began before that. The generation of Muscovites that went through the Second World War and endured severe hardships did everything they could in the post-war years to improve their lives. In 1945, it was decided to create yet another theatre in Moscow, one which would be young and dynamic. Today, masterpieces from the past blend harmoniously with modern dramatic works.
Graduates from the Mikhail Shchepkin Higher Theatre School and other Moscow theatres formed the newly-created theatre troupe, which was named the Moscow Drama Theatre with S. Mayorov at its head. The theatre occupied a building at 26, Spartakovskaya Street (which is now the home of the Puppet Theatre). The premiere of Golden Hoop, based on a play by M. Kozakov and A. Mariengof, took place here in March 1946. Works by modern Soviet playwrights formed the basis of the theatre’s repertoire, and S. Mayorov put on no less than forty-five performances over the theatre’s first eleven years!
The theatre’s management, however, somehow displeased party officials, resulting in Mayorov’s dismissal and transfer to the Leninsky Komsomol Theatre, now known as Lenkom. The new director, A. Goncharov, was an entire different kind of manager; he was a combat veteran, a troop leader and an experienced theatre director. In 1962, the theatre moved to the building on Malaya Bronnaya Street, where it has been located ever since. The building was once a tenement house constructed by K. Gippius in 1902.
A new lease of life
The repertoire of the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya grew in both variety and size in the second half of the 1960s. The director went beyond Soviet drama classics, staging plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov, Turgenev and Moliere. Gogol’s legendary The Government Inspector was also staged here. At this time, the theatre’s success was largely due to its new director, Anatoly Efros, and to actors who joined the troupe after his appointment. The theatre benefited greatly from the creative directorial duo of A. Efros and A. Dunayev. These talented colleagues made their theatre one of the most popular in Moscow by staging well-known 19th-century plays differently, but always with resounding success. In the 1980s, this initiative was taken up by director and educator Sergey Yashin, and in the 1990s by the troupe headed by director Sergey Zhenovach and starring Irina Rozanova, Sergey Batalov, Anastasiya Nemolyaeva, Nadezhda Markina and Vladimir Yavorsky, among others. Zhenovach left his position at the end of his two-year contract, but the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya has retained something inalterable and significant that allows it to remain unique.
Theatre in the 21st century
Today, the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya simultaneously stages plays by Jordi Galceran, Alexander Kuprin, David Lindsay-Abaire, Yekaterina Dubakina, William Shakespeare, Maxim Gorky, Edmond Rostand and many more. Headed by Sergey Golomazov, the creative team, composed of both renowned and young actors, recommends that spectators flip through the text of a play before attending the performance to gain a full understanding of the author’s message. The spectators can then compare the impressions they got from reading the play with what they see on the stage, which is much more exciting than just coming to the theatre, having no idea about what they are about to experience.
The auditorium seats up to 600. Here, there is a focus on good manners and behaviour, which is not emphasised in every theatre in Moscow. At the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya, appropriate clothes are recommended, and gentlemen are expected to treat ladies courteously. It is prohibited to bring cumbersome bags, to examine other people through binoculars and to exit the auditorium before the actors leave the stage. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the small museum, which will take you back to 1945, the year of the great victory that marked the foundation of the theatre.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com