Theatre of Nations

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The Korsh Theatre building

The State Theater of Nations is a theater located in the Petrovsky building in central Moscow, Russia. The Theater has no resident acting company. As of 2011 the building was undergoing major reconstruction, while the Theater's activities continue.[needs update] The Theater of Nations acts a dedicated space for the experiments of local and international directors. It is, in the words of its Artistic Director, "an educational center for the new generation of theater."

The Theater's ongoing activities include:

  • Conducting national and multinational arts festivals
  • Preserving cultural ties between Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union
  • Introducing local audiences to notable achievements of the international art scene
  • Providing experimental grounds for young actors and directors


The theater building was original built for Korsh's theater, one of the first privately owned Russian theaters. It occupied the Petrovsky building in 1885. It functioned as a privately owned theater. In 1925 it became the State Comedy Theater. In 1932, the building became the Moscow Art Theater's subsidiary stage, later known as the Gorky Moscow Art Theater. In 1987, The Friendship of Nations Theater, then based on Tverskoi Boulevard, exchanged locations with the Gorky, and in 1991 changed its name to the Theater of Nations.

On December 18, 2006, Yevgeny Mironov became Artistic Director.

Provincial activities[edit]

In 2010 the State Ministry of Culture granted the Theater of Nations a contract to develop a multistep program geared towards the advancement of theatrical culture in the Russian provinces. Every month the Theater will choose a small town to visit with activities that include professional criticism of local productions, readings of new plays, master classes and seminars. The program was set in motion in December 2010.

Festival projects[edit]

Among the multigenre festivals initiated by the Theater are such conspicuous projects as the Opera Parade and the Opera Panorama, Russia's National Treasure and the Mini-Avignon, the Window to the Netherlands and the Strindberg in Moscow, the Russian-Turkish festival of contemporary dramaturgy and Japanese drum shows. Smaller festivals include the Small-Town Theaters of Russia Festival and Theater Town, which exports to the capital the theater activities of an entire town – the first festival to pave the way to Moscow for many provincial theaters.

The Theater of Nations was a pioneer in contemporary dance, conducting the first two international contemporary-dance festivals locally in 1993 and 1995. The support it provided to the brightest stars of Russia's newborn contemporary-dance movement (Yevgeny Panfilov, Tatiana Baganova, Olga Bavdilovich) played a significant role in the establishment of the new genre in Russia. Dance companies hosted by the Theater include the Centre Chorégraphique National de Nantes, the José Limón Dance Foundation, Belgium's Les Ballets C de la B, Paul Frenac's Parisian troupe, the Dutch companies of Anouk van Dijk, Krisztina de Châtel, Karin Holl and Introdans, the Random Dance Company of U.K., the Japanese Sankai Juku performing Butoh, NorrDans of Sweden, France's Centre Chorégraphique National-Ballet Biarritz under the direction of Thierry Malandain, Japan's H. Art Chaos modern-dance theater and the dance company of Regis Abadia.

The Theater of Nations has a history of initiating festivals and granting them autonomy, including the Hersones Games, The Moscow Performance International Music and Theater Festival of Authentic Arts, the international festival of one-actor shows, and other events that are now an integral part of Russia's cultural landscape. The Theater also operates outside of Moscow. It took the Summer of Theater festival to the city of Krasnodar; the Opera Panorama and the Okinawa multicultural festival to Samara; Hard Currency, a festival of Russian theater to London; and the Small-Town Theaters of Russia Festival to Lysva, with select performances then presented at the capital.

The Theater is the headquarters for one of Russia's most significant theatrical events – The TERRITORIЯ Festival, founded by Mironov among others.

In 2009 the Theater introduced the all-new Shekspir@Shakespeare Festival, which opened on October 5 with Israel's Cameri Theater's Hamlet, staged by director-in-residence Omri Nitzan.

Hosting activities[edit]

The Theater of Nations' hosts touring shows, including King Lear and Robert Sturua's production of Bertold Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle from the Tbilisi Rustaveli Theater; Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Vadim Korostylyov's Pirosmani, Pirosmani from Eimuntas Nekrošius (The Lithuanian Youth Theater); Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard from Peter Brook (Brooklyn Academy of Music); Fedor Abramov's Brothers and Sisters from Lev Dodin (The St. Petersburg Maly Dramatic Theater); Gregory Kanovich's Smile upon Us, Lord from the State Small Theater of Vilnius (directed by Rimas Tuminas); Marivaux' La Surprise de l'amour from Jean-Pierre Vincent (Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers); Madame Marguerite, French artist Annie Girardot's one-woman show; productions by the traditional Japanese Noh Theater; and many others.

Original productions[edit]

The Theater produces its own shows, premiering Andrii Zholdak's staging of An Experiment in Assimilating "The Seagull" by the Stanislavsky Method in 2001 as part of the World Theater Olympics. The Theater supports young and established directors. Bullfinches, based on the Victor Astafiev novel The Cursed and the Slain, is popular with both audiences and critics. The Theater's recent original productions of Anton Chekhov's short story The Swedish Match (directed by Nikita Grinshpun) and Carmen. Exodus (directed by Andrii Zholdak) were notable events in the theatrical life of Moscow.

Two of the Theater of Nations' productions have been nominated for the National Golden Mask Theater Award in the past: Flies by the young dancer-choreographers Anna Abalikhina and Dina Husein, for Best Production and Best Female Dancer in the Modern Dance category, 2006; and Andrii Zholdak's Phaedra: Golden Braid, for Best Director, Best Design, and Best Actress in the Small-Scale Dramatic Production category, 2007. The Best Actress Golden Mask went to Maria Mironova for the role of Phaedra. The Swiss Match is the recipient of the Crystal Turandot Theater Award in the Best Debut category. Shukshin's Stories received three Crystal Turandot awards in 2009 and three Golden Mask awards in 2010.

The Theater's 2008-2009 season opened with internationally acclaimed actor-director Peter Stein's one-man show, Faust Fantasia, as part of the Theater's Project: Names. The same project introduced one of the most anticipated events of the season – the Moscow tour of actress-playwright Marina Vlady's Vladimir or the Aborted Flight, about her life with the Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky. In October the Theater presented Letters to Felicia, the story of Franz Kafka's tragic love staged by the young director Kirill Sbitnev. A co-production, with the TERRITORIЯ Festival, of the choreographed novella Poor Liza, based on Nikolai Karamzin's story and staged by Alla Sigalova, opened in February. Critics and audiences concurred that the Theater's production of Shukshin's Stories, directed by Latvia's Alvis Hermanis, was the hit of Moscow's theater season.

The 2009-2010 season at the Theater was marked by two premieres: Yavor Gyrdev's production of Jordi Galceran's The Grönholm Method and the musical Romeo and Juliet directed by Vladimir Pankov. Seges Khapsasova received a Debut of the Year Chrystal Turandot Award for her performance as Juliet.

The Theater's 2010-2011 season began on September 12 with the production of Hamlet by Thomas Ostermaier and the Schaubühne Berlin. Ostermaier will also close the season with a play featuring a Russian-German cast. In November, Shukshin's Stories toured Russia and France as part of the Unknown Siberia Festival conducted by the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund. Yavor Gyrdev returned to direct the Theater's first new production of the season, Killer Joe by the American playwright Tracy Letts, followed by Eimuntas Nekrošius' long-anticipated staging of Albert Camus' Caligula in translation by a prominent Russian writer Oleg Postnov and Gorny with Mironov in the title role. The production won the prestigious award "Golden Mask" in 2012. The TV Channel "Moskva 24" reported strong interest in the play, commenting: "Moscow dwellers not only find the time to watch this four-hour-long play," but even stand in line to buy the tickets.[1] The Theater is in the process of televising its production of Caligula; the shooting is set to take place in late April 2014.

The Kudmykar Theater of the Komi Republic, winner of the 2010 Small-Town Theaters of Russia Festival, presented its award-winning production on the Theater of Nations' stage. Andrei Moguchii directed Don Quixote The season featured several productions by up-and-coming young talents.


  1. ^ Moskva-24. "Production of Camus, Theater of Nations". Retrieved 04.01.14. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750°N 37.617°E / 55.750; 37.617