Russian State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theater named after G. A. Tovstonogov

The Russian State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theater named after G. A. Tovstonogov (BDT) is a theater in St. Petersburg, founded in 1918, one of the first theaters created after the October Revolution.

From 1932 to 1992, the BDT had the name of its founder, Maxim Gorky. In 1992, it received the name of director Georgy Tovstonogov, who headed the theater for thirty-three years – from 1956 to 1989.

The Bolshoi Drama Theater has three stages. The main and small stages are located in a historic building on the Fontanka embankment in front of the Leshtukov Bridge, where the Suvorin Theater was previously located. The second stage in 2005 was the Kamennoostrovsky Theatre, the oldest surviving wooden theater in Russia.

The theater building was built by the philanthropist Count Anton Stepanovich Apraksin (1817-1899) on the best site of the largest “shopping center” in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, Apraksin Dvor, which belonged to him, overlooking the embankment. Next to the theater, also on the embankment, a Russian-style church was built (not preserved). After the death of Count Apraksin, his widow, Maria Dmitrievna, nee Rakhmanova (1845-1932), continued to support the theater. The architect of the theater was the Swiss Ludwig Frantsevich Fontana, who worked a lot in the Apraksin Yard itself.

The Bolshoi Drama Theater was organized on the initiative of Maxim Gorky and the commissioner of theaters and spectacles of the Union of Communes of the Northern Region, actress of the Moscow Art Theater of the “first call” Maria Andreeva. In August 1918, Commissioner M. F. Andreeva signed a decree on the creation in Petrograd of a “theater of tragedy, romantic drama and high comedy”, known today throughout the world under the acronym BDT.

Among the founders of the theater was one of the members of the “World of Art” – the artist, who became a theater director and manager, Alexander Benois.

Ticket office: daily, 11:00–19:00, break 15:00–16:00
Address: emb. Fontanka River, 65, St. Petersburg
Nearest metro: Zvenigorodskaya, Sennaya Square, Spasskaya

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