The Pyotr Fomenko Workshop Theatre is a modern theatre which, in its more than two decades of years of existence, has become arguably the best dramatic theatre in Moscow. Full of light and positivity, this theatre came into existence during the turbulent times of the early 1990s, making it a true sensation in the life of the city. The ‘Fomenkis’ (as the actors of this theatre are known both in and outside of Russia) manage to combine deep interpretations of material with light and airy productions. Whatever they set out to produce – Chekhov’s Three Sisters, Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Ostrovsky’s Wolves and Sheep – is always a sincere re-telling of a story, filled with poetry and music.
The Fomenkis have been around since 1988 when then already famous director Pyotr Fomenko recruited a class of students for his workshop at GITIS (The Russian University of Theatre Arts). In time, the students of the ‘small’ workshop became the actors of the ‘big’ Fomenko Workshop. They are still the core members of the Theatre troupe, these wonderful ‘seniors’ – among them are Polina Agureeva, Kirill Pirogov, and the Kutepova sisters – Polina and Kseniya. Importantly, this theatre continues to be a workshop, admitting new trainees who later become actors in the Fomenko Theatre.
The Workshop’s repertoire features both classical works (A. Ostrovsky’s Without a Dowry, M. Bulkagov’s A Dead Man’s Memoir: A Theatrical Novel) and modern dramas (I. Vyrypaev’s Summer Wasps Sting Us Even in November, and What’s Most Important based on a novel by M. Shishkin). Both kinds of productions are equally appealing to those who are fond of the classics as well as to ‘modern theatre’ lovers. And, of course, audiences particularly enjoy the audacious and witty production that was the theatre’s first performance 22 years ago and has never left the stage – Wolves and Sheep by A. Ostrovsky.
The workshop’s addresses
For a long while, the Fomenko Workshop did not have a home. The Fomenkis moved from one stage to another until eventually the city authorities gave them the former Kiev Cinema building (which is currently housing the old stage of the Workshop). Later, the need for more room prompted the construction of a new stage for the Theatre. Muscovites like to criticise modern buildings, but this building has largely escaped unscathed. Designed by architect Gnedovsky, the Theatre’s new stage blended in perfectly with the hilly banks of the Moskva River, with its foyer windows revealing the magnificent view of the Moscow City skyline.
The theater is very conscious of its audience. Lack of Russian language knowledge and limited hearing capabilities are of no consequence here, as Fomenko’s workshop has developed and successfully implemented a unique system, whereby the titles on the screens of individual tablets are displayed in the language chosen by the viewer. Translations are made by native speakers to almost all performances on the Big Stage. However, the application for the use of this system must be submitted in advance – at least one day before the performance.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com