The Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre (Russian: Драматический театр имени А. С. Пушкина) is a pioneer theatre company, boasting a rich and creative history. Many outstanding actors have performed on its stage in the one hundred years since it opened. These actors include G. Burkov, V. Vysotsky, Y. Gorobets, O. Borisov, Y. Barinov, F. Ranevskaya and A. Porokhovshchikov. Actors from the Pushkin theatre’s present-day troupe are also well-known in Russia; they are often seen in films and on television and their performance is a draw-card for audiences.
Located in the very heart of Moscow, the Pushkin Theatre occupies a historic building on Tverskoy Boulevard and has another stage in the neighbouring Sytinsky Lane, which is used for small-scale productions.
History of the Theatre
The Pushkin Theatre is situated an area which was inhabited by the tsar’s gunsmiths before the 16th century and, consequently, known as Bronnaya Sloboda (Weapons’ Quarter). In 1779, A. S. Dmitriyeva-Mamonova, a Russian noblewoman and the then owner of this plot of land, built a building that would later accommodate the theatre. Its subsequent owners undertook numerous reconstructions of the building during the next 130 years, and in 1914, this mansion facing the boulevard enchanted actress Alisa Koonen, the wife of director Aleksandr Tairov who was searching for a venue for his new theatre.
Tairov decided to build an entire auditorium and sponsors helped him fulfil this ambition. The Chamber Theatre opened its doors in December 1914 with a premiere of Shakuntala, which was a huge success. This was followed by Famira Kifared, Phedra and Giroflet-Girofla. These productions propelled Tairov to fame. He was a brilliant director whose aim was to create a new, “synthetic” type of actor who was capable of taking on all kinds of roles, whether tragic, dramatic or comic. Actress Alisa Koonen fully complied with his demands, along with the rest of the troupe who were acknowledged with many awards.
In 1949, the authorities accused Aleksandr Tairov of promoting aestheticism, an art movement completely out of line with Stalin’s views on art. The Chamber Theatre was shut and Tairov died a short time later, unable to cope with the severe emotional stress caused by the closing of his beloved theatre. Alisa Koonen outlived her husband by 25 years, but after his death she never again set food into the theatre, even though it was located just a few steps from her apartment.
In 1950, the theatre resumed its activities under the direction of V. Vanin, changing its name to the Moscow Pushkin Theatre. Among its directors were B. Babochkin, B. Morozov, Y. Yeryomin, R. Kozak, B. Ravenskikh and B. Tolmazov. In Soviet times, the theatre staged productions of M. Sholokhov’s Virgin Soil Upturned and The Fate of a Man, L. Andreyev’s The Days of Our Life and M. Bulgakov’s Last Days. Among the productions staged at that time are eternal classics, such as A. Ostrovsky’s Mad Money, Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and L. Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata. The theatre also stages plays based on contemporary literary works (K. Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor and A. Christie’s Mousetrap).
Pushkin theatre today
Innovation has remained the cornerstone of the present-day theatre troupe, headed by Yevgeni Pisarev. Troupe members include V. Alentova, I. Bochkin, V. Verzhbitsky, V. Voronkova, T. Lyakina, V. Isakova, I. Kara-Mosko, Y. Rumyantsev and others. All are universal actors involved in both comic and dramatic productions, with they perform with equal skill. The theatre’s repertoire features musicals, plastic shows, physical comedies and tragedies, as well as fantastic children’s shows.
Productions staged at the Pushkin Theatre as well as the actors performing in them have won awards at major competitions and festivals. For example, the Chamber Theatre-100 years, a performance dedicated to the theatre’s 100th anniversary, received the award of the City of Moscow, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure was nominated for the Golden Mask and also toured Europe and the USA, The House That Swift Built won the Crystal Turandot, a prestigious Russian theatrical award, and the list goes on.
The main auditorium seats 824 and boasts a beautiful interior in keeping with the historic Tverskaya Street. It also contains a small museum. The photographs and stage outfits of celebrated actors hang on the corridor walls and in the foyer. The buffet and cloakroom create an atmosphere of comfort and add to the festive feel. The small auditorium, situated in Sytinsky Lane, has a seating capacity of 103.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com