Theatre of Nations

Theatre of Nations

343_image1_sThe Theatre of Nations is essentially a large theatre festival that lasts the whole year. It hosts productions of the best Russian and foreign directors, including: the widely-renowned Robert Lepage from Canada (Hamlet. Collage), the legendary Eimuntas Nekrošius from Lithuania (Caligula), the famous Robert Wilson from the United States (Pushkin’s Fairy Tales); the young but already well-known Dmitry Volkostrelov (Three Days in Hell, Russian Romance), Timofey Kulyabin (#shakespearsonnets) and Philip Grigoryan (The Stone).

Originally, the Theatre of Nations was called the Theatre of Peoples’ Friendship. Created just before the end of the Soviet era, in 1987, this theatre was intended to stage the best theatre productions of the Soviet republics. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it began to invite directors not only from former Soviet republics, but from foreign countries as well. Due to its newfound international flavour, it was called the Theatre of Nations.

The actors of the Theatre of Nations

The theatre does not have its own troupe of actors, however it attracts the best of Moscow talent: Chulpan Khamatova (starring in Miss Julie and Shukshin’s Stories), Marina Neyolova (The Glass Menagerie) and Liya Akhedzhakova (FIGARO. The Events of One Day). The theatre’s artistic director is the famous actor and director Yevgeny Mironov.

344_image2_sThe Theatre has a diverse repertoire, but it gives special preference to productions that deal with contemporary topics, as well as to staging older plays in a modern context. For example, in the play The Gronholm Method, director Javor Gardev, together with the author Jordi Galceran, explores how far a person can go in pursuit of a career and how they may end up becoming a part of a faceless office machine. In turn, Timofey Kulyabin took the tragedy Electra by Euripides and, without changing a single line, moves the action to a waiting room in an airport, where reflections on the origin of the world become suddenly, and unexpectedly, relevant.

This theatre often re-interprets the classics. For example, Robert Lepage staged Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a one-man performance, showing just one person left alone with his thoughts. Philip Grigoryan stages a ‘toxic kitsch’ version of Gogol’s Marriage, where he reflects on the stereotypes of mass culture. However, if you prefer a traditional interpretation of the classics, you may want to skip this performance. Instead, go see The Swedish Match — a beautiful, witty performance based on the early stories of Anton Chekhov. Actors in this performance are the young and talented graduates of Oleg Kudryashov’s workshop, and each plays several roles, switching back and forth between the genres of detective comedy and vaudeville.

The past and the present

The Theatre of Nations is located in a building with a long history dating back much further than the theatre itself. It was constructed in the late 19th century by architect Mikhail Chichagov. This festive-looking ‘pseudo-Russian’ building was designed for the first Russian private theatre of lawyer Fyodor Korsch and equipped in accordance with the latest technological advancements. For example, it was lit exclusively by electricity, which, in 1885, struck Muscovites as amazing. The Korsch Theatre successfully staged both vaudevilles and serious dramas. After the revolution, the theatre became a branch of the Moscow Art Theatre and saw the performances of renowned actors Mikhail Yanshin, Innokenty Smoktunovsky and Oleg Tabakov.

The Theatre of Nations is located between the streets of Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Petrovka on Petrovsky Lane. If you decide to visit, leave home early and take the metro to Teatralnaya station, from there stroll down Dmitrovka, turn onto Stoleshnikov, come out to Petrovka and take some time to enjoy the view of Vysokopetrovsky Monastery. This walk will undoubtedly be a lovely start to your evening.

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Within Garden Ring

Nearest Metro Station

Chekhovskaya, Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya


Moscow, Petrovskiy Pereulok 3


Museum Opening Hours / Ticket Office Opening Hours

from 11:00 to 20:00 on weekdays, and from 12:00 to 19:00 on weekends

Additional Information

Exit the Metro station to Passionate Boulevard and the cinema "Russia", pass through a long underground tunnel and exit on strastnoy Boulevard. Go 100 meters up the street from Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, turn right and go down to the first Dmytrivka turning left-im going to Petrovsky lane. After Petrovsky lane 200 meters, you will find yourself in front of the entrance to the theatre of Nations.


Before the curtain-up. Photo:
'Hamlet. Collage' based on a play by William Shakespeare
'The Method Grönholm' based on a play by Jordi Galceran
'A Swedish Match' based on a play by Anton Chekhov
Theatre of Nations. Foyer
Theatre of Nations (Korsh's Theatre). Early 20th century. An old photo

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