Visitors coming to the Russian Institute of Theatre ArtsRussian: Gosudarstvennyi institut teatralnogo iskusstva or Государственный институт театрального искусства, or GITISRussian: ГИТИС, are in for a special treat. Many students are around the theatre, which is not surprising, given that students are involved in performances, too. Including theatre students gives performances an extraordinary atmosphere, and afterwards, both actors and spectators rave about the theatre. Student actors sometimes hold open rehearsals; this is twice as exciting, because spectators can see the genesis of a performance and notice hiccups or innovative moments as they emerge organically onstage.
Everyday life at GITIS
The theatre season starts, as a rule, in September and ends in June. GITIS is closed in summer. Performances are staged on a regular basis with intermittent breaks, which occur mostly on weekends. Traditionally, students attending any higher education institution are granted free entrance on Student’s DayRussian: Den studenta or День студента, celebrated January 25.
The GITIS has three stages. The first one is in the well-known Nirnzey tenement houseRussian: dokhodnyi dom Nirnzeye or доходный дом Нирнзее located at 10, Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky LaneRussian: Bolshoy Gnezdnikovskiy pereulok or Большой Гнездниковский переулок. Built in 1914 as a tenement house, this 9-storey building was one of the first high rises in Moscow, then called “cloud cutters”. This neighbourhood immediately became one of Moscow’s major theatrical areas: as early as 1915, the same building accommodated the Bat theatre cabaretRussian: teatr-kabare «Letuchaya mysh» or театр-кабаре «Летучая мышь», succeeded by the One-Eyed Jimmy cabaretRussian: kabare «Krivoy Dzhimmi» or кабаре «Кривой Джимми», directed by renowned actor Nikolay Yevreinov. This building houses other theatres, too, including the Romen TheatreRussian: teatr «Romen» or театр «Ромэн», which gave its place to GITIS in 1958.
The theatre at Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky Lane seats only 200 people, so most performances are staged in the new building situated at 2, Akademika Pilyugina StreetRussian: ulitsa Akademika Pilyugina or улица Академика Пилюгина (Novye CheryomushkiRussian: Новые Черёмушки Metro Station). The new theatre is equipped with the latest technology and has a capacity of 260.
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The training stage of the institute itself, located at 6, Maly Kislovsky LaneRussian: Malyi Kislovskiy pereulok or Малый Кисловский переулок, occupies a special place within the theatre’s structure; when you come there, you are right in the middle of the Russian State Institute of Performing ArtsRussian: Gosudarstvennyi institut teatralnogo iskusstva or Государственный институт театрального искусства! Stand in line with students at the canteen, have a look at the curriculum of the prospective actors and directors, flip through a book by Kafka or Dostoyevsky lying on the windowsill. The most important thing here is the legendary auditorium, known as Laboratory 39Russian: Laboratoriya 39 or Лаборатория 39. This 80-seat small theatre features brick walls painted black, with the stage gradually merging into the auditorium. As is the case with any chamber stage, spectators and actors communicate in a very special way, all the more so because the performers are students, and many of them have a promising future, lending performances a sense of excitement. It is this auditorium which marked the beginning of two outstanding drama theatres in Moscow, Pyotr Fomenko Workshop TheatreRussian: Masterskaya Petra Fomenko or Мастерская Петра Фоменко and Sergey Zhenovach’s Theatrical Arts StudioRussian: Studiya teatralnogo iskusstva Sergeya Zhenovacha or Студия театрального искусства Сергея Женовача.
Directors Leonid Kheyfits, Aleksey Borodin, Oleg Kudryashov and Sergey Zhenovach staged almost all performances given in Lab 39. Some shows (for instance, Borodin’s The RhinocerosRussian: Nosorog or Носорог) require you to order tickets in advance, but entrance is usually free of charge. However, you need to sign up for performances well in advance through social network groups, and it is not rare that subscribers book all seats just two or three hours after the announcement is made. Please note that there is no ticket office in the theatre at Maly Kislovsky lane. In any case, going there with no ticket or registration will not get you into the theatre.
Today, students doing degrees in the Faculties of Drama, of Variety Art and of Musical Theatre perform in the old and new GITIS theatres. The theatre’s repertoire is very diverse. Actors give a nod to rock culture in The Rock LegendsRussian: Legendy roka or Легенды рока (directed by V. Garkalin), set up Gogola Russian dramatist of Ukrainian origin-style devilry in Evenings on a Farm near DikankaRussian: Vechera na khutore bliz Dikanki or Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки (directed by V. Garkalin) or revisit their childhood in The Cabbage WonderRussian: Kapustnoye chudo or Капустное чудо (directed by S. Namin). The broad scope of GITIS’s repertoire has something to offer to both lovers of classical performances as well as to fans of modern stage acting.© 2016-2022 moscovery.com