Moscow has a particular pulling power for young actors all over the country. The famous MKhATRussian: МХАТ (Moscow Academic Art TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy khudozhestvennyi akademicheskiy teatr or Московский художественный академический театр) Theatre schoolRussian: Shkola-studiya or Школа-студия, GITISRussian: ГИТИС (Russian University of Theatre ArtsRussian: Rossiyskiy institut teatralnogo iskusstva or Российский институт театрального искусства), VGIK Russian: ВГИК(Russian State University of CinematographyRussian: Vserossiyskiy gosudarstvennyi institut kinematografii or Всероссийский государственный институт кинематографии), ShchepkaRussian: Щепка (Mikhail Shchepkin Higher Theatre SchoolRussian: Vysshee teatralnoe uchilische im. M.S. Schepkina or Высшее театральное училище им. М.С. Щепкина) and ShchukaRussian: Щука (Boris Shchukin Theatre InstituteRussian: Teatralnyi institut imeni Borisa Schukina or Театральный институт имени Бориса Щукина), have a profound meaning for Russian people because some of the greatest actors graduated from these institutions. Moreover, these foundries of creative talent continue to diligently prepare students for the stage and film.
After graduating, sometimes students set up their own theatre with their teachers. Take, for example, Oleg Tabakov’s TabakerkaRussian: Табакеркa or The Pyotr Fomenko Workshop TheatreRussian: Masterskaya Petra Fomenko or Мастерская Петра Фоменко. If you are interested in theatre, these youthful theatres run by emerging talents are great places to visit. You should bear in mind that the performances on offer can be understood without any knowledge of Russian because they have a particular plasticity which makes them comprehensible to everyone. The ‘What’s On’ section of the official websites of the theatre schools has details of upcoming performances, or you can follow them on social media.
MKhAT Theatre School
3, Kamergersky side streetRussian: Kamergersky pereulok or Камергерский переулок is a significant place in Moscow. In the 19th century, K. Stanislavsky and V. Nemirovich-Danchenko enabled the Moscow Art TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy Khudozhestvennyi teatr or Московский Художественный театр to be opened. The Theatre School named after Nemirovich-Dancheko was opened in a neighbouring building in 1943. For over seventy years, this school has opened its doors to actors and directors who became the talent of Soviet and Russian theatre and cinema.
Oleg Basilashvilli and Aleksei Batalov, Vladimir Vysotsky and Evgeny Evstigneev, Tatiyana Doronina and Galina Volchek, Oleg Yefremov and Oleg Tabakov, Vladimir Menshov and Eugeny Mironov, and many others graduated from the MKhAT Theatre SchoolRussian: Shkola-studiya MKhAT or Школа-студия МХАТ.
One of the latest sensations of MKhAT is Dmitry Brusnikin’s workshop (running since 2015), which gained recognition even when he was still at university. During their years at school, these incredible young people successfully absorbed the best of dramatic and musical theatre, multiplied it and created a totally personalised, rich, talented artistic language with a character of its own.
Particular attention should be paid to the class of 2016 led by the People’s Artist of Russia Viktor Ryzhakov. His students have already exercised their skills not only on the stage of their alma mater, but also on other stages in the capital, for example, The Meyerhold Theatre CentreRussian: Tsentr im. Meyerkholda or Центр им. Мейерхольда. In their graduation performance, students dealt with dramatically difficult material extremely well (‘Platonov. The First Meeting’, ‘Platonov FROH’ and ‘Faulkner. The Silence’ for example) as well as deftly managing complex personalities (‘Gagarin’s 12 Feats’), and the tragic legacy of the past (‘An Outdated Concert’).
Tickets to the Student theatreRussian: Uchebnyi teatr or Учебный театр are available in the ticket office on Kamergersky side street from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets to other venues can be booked online.
SHCHEPKIN HIGHER THEATRE SCHOOL (INSTITUTE)
The Shchepkin SchoolRussian: Schepkinskoe uchilische or Щепкинское училище, or “Shchepka” as it is affectionately nicknamed, dates back to the times of the Russian Empire. In 1809, by the order of Alexander Ireigned as Emperor of Russia from 1801 to 1825, a theatre school affiliated with a founding home was converted into the Moscow Theatre SchoolRussian: Moskovskoe teatralnoe uchilische or Московское театральное училище. It has borne the name of the famous Russian actor and educator Mikhail Shchepkin since 1938. Thanks to him, it moved into a wonderful building at 6/2 NeglinnayaRussian: Неглинная street. Today “Shchepka” belongs to the Maly TheatreRussian: Malyi teatr or Малый театр and annually produces several actor’s and director’s classes.
Shchepka is proud of its graduates – and with good reason, because among them are Mariya Yermolova, Oleg Dal, Vitaly Solomin, Inna Churikova and Oleg Menshikov. The theatre in Tverskaya street now bears Mariya Yermolova’s name. Moreover, the Shchepkin Theatre School regularly enrols national classes with students from the CIS.
The repertoires of the graduating classes, for example, the class of 2016 led by professors V.I. Korshunov, V.A. Safronov, V.N. Dragunov, V.M. Beilis, and V.N. Ivanov comprise both classical and modern dramatic art. These include the tragic fates of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, the characters of Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’, the twists and turns of the relationships in Ostrovsky’s comedy’ On a Prominent Location’, and many other complex themes and characters.
You can book free tickets for Student theatre productions in Neglinnaya street over the phone. Another venue where you can see students’ performances is in the theatre centre called, ‘Na StrastnomRussian: На Страстном’. Reservation of seats for the plays is available both over the phone and on the centre’s official website (8A Strastnoy boulevardRussian: Страстной бульвар).
BORIS SHCHUKIN THEATRE INSTITUTE
Apart from Shchepka there is one other, no less famous, institution in Moscow. This is colloquially known as Shchuka, but its full name is The Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute, stemming originally from Evgeny Vakhtangov’s theatre school. Evgeny Vakhtangov was the director who created his own style of acting, in contrast with the method of his teacher, Stanislavsky. Within only a few decades, this institution acquired the status of the best theatre school in the country.
It was with the students of his drama school that Vakhtangov staged his most famous production ‘Princess TurandotRussian: Printsessa Turandot or Принцесса Турандот’, not long before his death in 1922. The title of this production has now given its name to a prestigious theatre award. The E. Vakhtangov State Academic TheatreRussian: Gosudarstvennyi akademicheskiy teatr im. E.B. Vakhtangova or Государственный академический театр им. Е.Б. Вахтангова in the the ArbatRussian: Арбат was named after him. This theatre follows the style established by Vakhtangov. Graduates of the Shchukin school perform on its stages today. It is interesting that in Shchuka, which has been in its current location not far from the theatre at 12A Bolshoy Nikolopeskovsky side streetRussian: Bolshoy Nikolopeskovsky pereulok or Большой Николопесковский переулок since 1937, the continuity of generations of knowledge has been preserved for the past eighty years: its graduates, considered the elite of the Moscow theatre, teach here. It is in this way that Vakhtangov’s teaching is preserved.
Students of graduating classes have staged their graduation performances in the Student theatre since 1939. Along the way, they have often surprised the capital’s theatre lovers. Yury Lyubimova Soviet and Russian stage actor and director’s ‘The Good Person from Szechwan’ was the graduation play of the class of 1964 and became such a tremendous event that Lyubimov, together with his students, created the Taganka TheatreRussian: Teatr na Taganke or Театр на Таганке, which was an extremely popular place in Moscow in 1960-1980s.
The famous Soviet actor and Vakhtangov’s favourite student, Boris Shchukin, Vladimir Etush, Yuliya Borisova, Yury Yakovlev, Andrei Mironov, Konstantin Raikin, Rolan Bykov, Vasily Lanovoi, Tatiana Samoilova and Irina Kupchenko are on the list of Shchuka’s outstanding graduates – this list is by no means exhaustive.
Current students are undoubtedly prepared to continue in the same vein as the famous Vakhtangov students. Their productions often pull a full house in the building in Bolshoi Nikolopeskovsky side street. They stage Russian and foreign plays, perform plastic poems, musicals and operettas – for example, Bulgakov’s ‘Monsieur de Moliere’ and Lope de Vega’s ‘The Dog in the Manger’, Rasputin’s ‘Farewell to Matyora’ and Pushkin’s ‘The Gypsies’. You can book tickets to the students’ productions over the phone in the Student theatre ticket offices.
RUSSIAN UNIVERSITY OF THEATRE ARTS (GITIS)
The Russian University of the Theatre Arts, more widely known as GITIS, is another important component of cultural life of Moscow. For many decades, the Student theatre has occupied the historical building at 10, Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky side streetRussian: Bolshoy Gnezdnikovskiy pereulok or Большой Гнездниковский переулок. The best actors and directors in the country have performed on this stage.
GITIS dates back to the late 1870s when Russian piano player Pyotr Shostakovsky opened a Musical Drama School for non-residentsRussian: Muzykalno-dramaticheskaya shkola dlya prikhodyaschikh or Музыкально-драматическая школа для приходящих, which was later turned into a college. Many things have changed over the last century, notably that the school has become the largest theatrical institute in Russia. Vsevolod Meyerhold, a great 20th century director, contributed a lot to the development of the institute. He combined the college with his Higher Theatrical WorkshopsRussian: Vysshie teatralnye masterskie or Высшие театральные мастерские and created his own theatre (which bears Meyerhold’s name today) on the basis of the new State Institute of Theatre ArtRussian: Gosudarstvennyi institut teatralnogo iskusstva or Государственный институт театрального искусства .
Alexander Abdulov and Vladimir Andreev, Inna Churikova and Anatoly Papanov, and others graduated from the GITIS school in different years. Director Anatoly Efros also started his career here. To a large extent it is thanks to his effort that the modern national theatre became what it is. Jerzy Grotowski, the Polish man behind the idea of “poor theatre”, was educated here too.
Today GITIS instructors give rise to those who aim to establish their own theatres using the university as a springboard, just like their famous predecessor Pyotr Fomenko did. The musical theatre run by A. Barmak and V. Ryabov settled in a beautiful, multi-purpose building – the new stage of the student theatre at 2, Akademika Pilyugina streetRussian: ulitsa Akademika Pilyugina or улицa Академика Пилюгина.
The stage in the Bolshoi Gnezdnikovsky side street and sometimes the GITIS historical stage at 6, Maly Kislovsky side streetRussian: Malyi Kislovskiy pereulok or Малый Кисловский переулок welcome theatre goers who wish to see future actors and directors of the drama theatre. Jacques Offenbach, Boris Vasiliev, Alexander Ostrovsky and Carlo Goldoni are among the sources of inspiration for graduation plays. Among the recognised playwrights are peppered plays set to Tchaikovsky’s music as well as those set to rock songs.
To see students’ productions, you can sign up to the official theatre notifications released by the VkontakteRussian: ВКонтакте social network, call the Student theatre ticket office, or just book online on the theatre partners’ websites.
Gerasimov Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK)
Last but not least is the S. Gerasimov Russian State University of CinematographyRussian: Vserossiyskiy gosudarstvennyi institut kinematografii imeni S.A. Gerasimova or Всероссийский государственный институт кинематографии имени С.А. Герасимова known as VGIK (3, Vilgelma Pika streetRussian: ulitsa Vilgelma Pika or улица Вильгельма Пика). It is in this university that the programmes of professional training for cinema, television, radio and screen arts are implemented. The national cinema industry was born here in 1919.
Prominent Soviet names associated with film directing like Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei Bondarchuk, Mikhail Romm, Grigory Kozintsev, and obviously, Sergei Gerasimov whose name VGIK has borne since 1986, taught at the school of cinematography, which was later converted to a university.
Despite the fact that this school does not major in theatre art, there is a Student theatre here too, where future film actors and directors hone their skills. Graduation plays staged by the VGIK graduating classes are free of charge. All you need to do is to sign up to the university group on social media; bear in mind, however, that admission to the productions of the theatre centre stage ‘Na Strastnom’ is ticketed.
One of the classes is A. Mikhailov’s workshop (class of 2016). Its repertoire includes both Soviet classical pieces and key philosophical texts from the 20th century (for example, Y. Roshchin and J.P. Sartre). You can combine a visit to the theatre, which is situated quite far from the centre on Vilgelma Pika street, with seeing the All-Russian Exhibition CentreRussian: VDNKh or ВДНХ or going for a walk in the Botanical GardenRussian: Botanicheskiy sad or Ботанический сад, which is particularly pleasant in warmer months.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com