Maly Theatre in Moscow

The State Academic Maly Theatre of Russia is a drama theatre in Moscow. One of the oldest theatres in Russia, which played an outstanding role in the development of Russian national culture.

The first performance in it took place on October 14 (26), 1824. Its troupe was created at Moscow University in 1756, immediately after the decree of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, which marked the birth of a professional theatre in the country.

In 1824, according to the project of Joseph Bové, the architect A.F. Elkinsky rebuilt the mansion of the merchant Vargin for the theatre, this building on Petrovskaya (now Teatralnaya) Square became known as the Maly Theater, and still bears this name. In 1838-1840, after the adjoining plots were purchased, the architect Konstantin Ton completed the building to its current volume and completely changed the internal layout.

Maly Theatre positions itself as a traditional drama theatre that produces classical heritage plays. For example, the 2009–2010 season program of Maly included plays by Russian authors from Denis Fonvizin to Mikhail Bulgakov, and a single play by Molière. The second stage of Maly, located in Zamoskvorechye District, also performs plays by W. Somerset Maugham, Luigi Pirandello and Eugene Scribe.

Maly had a long tradition of producing William Shakespeare but, as of 2009, performs only one Shakespearian play, Love’s Labour’s Lost on its second stage.

Maly Theatre employs a staff of over seven hundred, including over one hundred drama actors. It is the only drama theatre in Russia that has retained a symphony orchestra and a professional choir. The theatre also operates Shchepkin Theatre School, Moscow’s oldest drama school, established in 1809 as the Imperial Theatre School.

The branch, or the second stage, of Maly Theatre is located at the south end of Bolshaya Ordynka Street in Zamoskvorechye District. Its eclectic building was built in the 1900s as a cinema, and rebuilt in 1914 into a theatre hall for the Struysky company. In the interwar period the building housed an independent Zamoskvorechye Theatre.

In each season, Maly Theatre releases 4-5 new performances and removes some of the old titles from his repertoire. The theatre’s touring geography is also extensive – in recent years it has visited Germany, France, Japan, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mongolia, South Korea and other countries.

By decree of the President of Russia, the Maly Theatre was given the status of a national treasure. Maly was included in the list of especially valuable cultural objects of the country, along with the Bolshoi Theatre, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Address: Teatralny proezd, 1.

Nearest metro: Teatralnaya, Ohotny Ryad, Ploschad Revolyutsii, Lubyanka.

Attractions around: Bolshoi TheatreManezhnaya SquarePloschad Revolyutsii (square)State Duma buildingHouse of the Unions, TSUM, Monument to Alexander Ostrovsky, Tretyakovskiy proezdCentral Children’s StoreLubyanka BuildingMetropol Hotel, Red SquareTverskaya streetKremlin.

See all entertainment in Moscow.

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