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Entries / Tovstonogov Bolshoy Drama Theatre

Tovstonogov Bolshoy Drama Theatre

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre/Theaters, Concert Organizations

TOVSTONOGOV BOLSHOY DRAMA THEATRE (BDT), academic theater located at 65 Fontanka Embankment, founded in 1919 by the joint effort of A.A. Blok (director), M. Gorky (in 1932-92 bore his name) and M.F. Andreeva, serving as a theatre for classic repertoire, staging mainly plays by W. Shakespeare and F. Schiller. Initially it was housed on the premises of the Grand Hall of Petrograd Conservatory, and in 1920 it was relocated to the present building. The first important BDT personnel included actors Y.M. Yuryev, N.F. Monakhov, V.V. Maximov, and V.Y. Sofronov, directors A.N. Lavrentyev, N.V. Petrov, and B.M. Sushkevich, set designers V.A. Shchuko, M.V. Dobuzhinsky, and A.N. Benois, and composers B.V. Asafyev and Y.A. Shaporin. Early productions exhibited both the eclecticism of the BDT's repertoire and its adherence to form of heroic performance. In the early 1920s, the BDT turned to modern drama, passing through a phase of dramatic expressionism (exemplified by Gas by G. Keiser, 1922, The Revolt of the Machines by A.N. Tolstoy, 1924, director K.P. Khokhlov, artist Y.P. Annenkov), enthusiasm for the "cinemafication" of the theatre (like Man with the Briefcase by A.M. Faiko, 1928, director K.K. Tverskoy, set designer M.Z. Levin; and Enemies by B.A. Lavrenev, 1929, director Lavrentyev, set designer N.P. Akimov), and other formal experiments. Tverskoy, the BDT's main director in 1929-35, finally reoriented the theatre towards the staging of straightforward modern drama (The Conspiracy of Feelings by Y.K. Olesha, The Town of Winds by V.M. Kirshon, 1929; Sonata Pathetique by M. Kulish, 1931; Egor Bulychov and others by Gorky, My Friend by N.F. Pogodin, 1932). Some of the people working at the BDT in the 1930s included directors V.V. Lutze, A.D. Diky (main director in 1936-37), and B.A. Babochkin (main director in 1938-40), and actors O.G. Kaziko, K.V. Skorobogatov, V.P. Politseimako, E.M. Granovskaya. In 1941-43, the theatre was evacuated to Kirov (Vyatka). In the 1940-50s, despite a crisis in direction, G.M. Kozintsev, V.P. Kozhich, N.S. Rashevskaya (main director in 1946-50) and K.P. Khokhlov (main director in 1954-56) managed to stage plays at the BDT. The BDT's golden age came during the period of G.A. Tovstonogov's direction (1956-89), who harmoniously presented topical interpretations of classics and universalized modern drama and prose. The most significant of Tovstonogov's productions are The Idiot, based on F.M. Dostoevsky's novel (1957), Five Evenings (1959) and My Elder Sister (1961) by A.M. Volodin, Woe from Wit by A.S. Griboedov (1962), Three Sisters by A.P. Chekhov (1965), Henry IV by Shakespeare (1969), A History of a Horse based on L.N. Tolstoy's Kholstomer (1975), Barbarians (1959), Petit-Bourgeois (1966), Dachniki (1976), The Lower Depths (1987) by Gorky. Tovstonogov developed a brilliant ensemble of outstanding actors including E.Z. Kopelyan, E.A. Lebedev, I.M. Smoktunovsky, T.V. Doronina, P.B. Luspekaev, S.Y. Yursky, O.I. Borisov, N.N. Trofimov, O.V. Basilashvili, Z.M. Sharko, K.Y. Lavrov, O.V. Volkova, L.I. Makarova, E.A. Popova, V.I. Strzhelchik, A.B. Freindlikh, L.I. Malevannaya, Y.V. Tolubeev, G.P. Bogachev, and V.M. Ivchenko, all united by a common psychological artistic method. In 1964 the BDT was granted the status of an Academic theatre. E.S. Kochergin, the theatre's main designer since 1972, became Tovstonogov's co-creator for many of the latter's productions. A special page of the BDT history is devoted to the productions of Polish director E. Axer, whom Tovstonogov invited to work at the theatre (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by B. Brecht, 1962; Two Theatres by E. Szaniawski, 1969; Our Town by T. Wilder, 1979). In 1992, the BDT was named after G.A. Tovstonogov (memorial plaque installed), who was followed by K.Y. Lavrov. Director T.N. Chkheidze has worked at the BDT since 1991, and the theatre continued to regularly invite young directors such as G.M. Kozlov, G.I. Dityatkovsky. The theatre building, which boasts elements of Baroque and Renaissance styles, was built by Count A.S. Apraksin (1878, architect L.F. Fontana) and leased to the Imperial Theatres Board as the second stage for performances from the Alexandrinsky Theatre, holding the name Maly Theatre, Imperial Maly Theatre, Apraksinsky Theatre). In the 1880-90s, the theatre was rented by various impresarios for dramas and operettas, mainly guest performances. E.N. Goreva, M.T. Ivanov-Kozelsky, E. Rossi, E. Duse, S. Bernhardt, J. Mounet-Sully and other actors gave performances on its stage. In 1895-1917 the building housed the theatre of the Literary Artistic Society, in 1918-20 the Jewish Chamber Theatre-Studio, and in 1919-20 the Maly Drama Theatre. Its main hall seats 1,114 people, its small hall 123.

References: БДТ им. М. Горького: Вехи истории: Сб. науч. тр. СПб., 1992; Премьеры Товстоногова / Сост. Е. Горфункель. М., 1994.

A. A. Kirillov.

Akimov Nikolay Pavlovich
Andreeva (real name Yurkovskaya) Maria Fedorovna
Annenkov Yury Pavlovich
Apraksin Anton Stepanovich, Count
Asafyev Boris Vladimirovich
Axer Erwin
Babochkin Boris Andreevich
Basilashvili Oleg Valerianovich
Benois Alexander Nikolaevich
Bernhardt Sarah
Blok G.P.
Bogachev Gennady Petrovich
Borisov Oleg Ivanovich
Brecht Bertolt
Chekhov Anton Pavlovich
Chkheidze Temur Nodarovich
Diky Alexsey Denisovich
Dityatkovsky Grigory Isaakovich
Dobuzhinsky Mstislav Valerianovich
Doronina Tatyana Vasilievna
Dostoevsky Fedor Mikhailovich
Duse Eleonora
Faiko Alexsey Mikhailovich
Fontana Ludwig Frantsevich
Freindlikh Alisa Brunovna
Goreva Elizaveta Nikolaevna
Gorky Maxim (Alexey Maximovich Peshkov)
Granovskaya Elena Mavrikievna
Griboedov Alexander Sergeevich
Ivanov-Kozelsky Lev Ivanovich
Ivchenko Valery Mikhailovich
Kaziko Olga Georgievna
Keiser Georg
Khokhlov Konstantin Pavlovich
Kirshon Vladimir Mikhailovich
Kopelyan Efim Zakharovich
Kozhich Vladimir Platonovich
Kozintsev Grigory Mikhailovich
Kozlov Ivan Ivanovich
Kulish Mikola (Nikolay Gurievich)
Lavrenev Boris Andreevich
Lavrentyev Andrey Nikolaevich
Lavrov Kirill Yurievich
Lebedev Evgeny Alexeevich
Levin Moisey Zeligovich
Luspekaev Pavel Borisovich
Lutze Vera Vladimirovna
Makarova Lyudmila Iosifovna
Malevannaya Larisa Ivanovna
Maximov (Samus) Vladimir Vasilievich
Monakhov Nikolay Fedorovich
Mounet-Sully Jean
Olesha Yury Karlovich
Petrov Nikolay Vasilievich
Pogodin (real name Stukalov) Nikolay Fedorovich
Politseymako Vitaly Pavlovich
Popova Emilia Anatolievna
Rashevskaya Natalia Sergeevna
Rossi Ernesto
Shakespeare William
Shaporin Yury Alexandrovich
Sharko Zinaida Maximovna
Shchuko Vladimir Alexeevich
Skorobogatov Konstantin Vasilievich
Smoktunovsky (real name Smoktunovich) Innokenty Mikhailovich
Sofronov Vasily Yakovlevich
Strzhelchik Vladislav Ignatievich
Sushkevich Boris Mikhailovich
Szaniawski Jerzy
Tolstoy Alexey Nikolaevich
Tolstoy Lev Nikolaevich, Count
Tolubeev Yury Vladimirovich
Tovstonogov Georgy Alexandrovich
Trofimov Nikolay Nikolaevich
Tverskoy (real name Kuzmin-Karavaev) Konstantin Konstantinovich
Volkova Olga Vladimirovna
Volodin Alexander Moiseevich
Wilder Thornton
Yursky Sergey Yurievich
Yuryev Yury Mikhailovich

Fontanka River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 65

БДТ им. М. Горького: Вехи истории: Сб. науч. тр. СПб., 1992
Премьеры Товстоногова / Сост. Е. Горфункель. М., 1994

The subject Index
Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory
Imperial Theatres Board
Alexandrinsky Theatre
Literary and Artistic Society Theatre
Literary and Artistic Society Theatre
Maly Drama Theatre - Theatre of Europe


Akimov N.P. (1901-1968) director

AKIMOV Nikolay Pavlovich (1901-1968), artist, director, pedagogue, theatre worker, People's Artist of the USSR (1961). From 1910 he lived in Tsarskoe Selo, from 1912 in St. Petersburg. Studied in St

Annenkov Y.P. (1889-1974), artist

ANNENKOV Yury Pavlovich (1889-1974), graphic artist, painter, scene designer, and writer. He lived in St. Petersburg from 1894. He studied in S. M. Seidenberg 's studio, Y. M. Tsionglinsky's workshop in 1909-11, and in Paris in 1911-12

Benois А.N., (1870-1960), artist

BENOIS Alexander Nikolaevich (1870, St. Petersburg – 1960), painter, graphic artist, stage designer, art historian and critic. Son of N. L. Benois. He studied in K. I

Blok A.A. (1880-1921), poet

BLOK Alexander Alexanderovich (1880, St. Petersburg - 1921, Petrograd), poet. He was born in the house of his grandfather A.N. Beketov (9 Universitetskaya Embankment, the Rector's Building; memorial plaque)

Drama Theatre (entry)

DRAMA THEATRE. The performances of the theatre of Tsar Peter the Great's sister, Tsarevna Natalia Alexeevna (from 1714) can be considered as the first attempts to establish a standing public theatre in St. Petersburg

Fontana L. F. (1824-1894), architect

FONTANA Ludwig Frantsevich (1824-1894), of Swiss descent, architect, prominent master of Eclecticism. Studied in Pavia (Italy). In 1845, he came to St. Petersburg, apprenticed as a mason with architect G.A. Bosse, since 1860 working independently

Freindlikh B.A., (1909-2002), actor

FREINDLIKH Bruno Arturovich (1909 - 2002, St. Petersburg), actor, People's Artist of the USSR (1974). In 1931-34, studied at the Dramatics School (today Academy of Dramatic Arts)

Garin E.P. (1902-1980), actor

GARIN (born Gerasimov) Erast Pavlovich (1902-1980), actor and director, People's Artist of the USSR in 1977. He graduated from the Higher Experimental Theatre Workshops in Moscow in 1926

Gorbachev I. O. (1927-2003), actor, director

GORBACHEV Igor Olegovich (1927-2003), actor, director, People's Artist of the USSR (1972), Hero of Socialist Labour (1987). In 1945, he enrolled at the Philosophy Department of the Leningrad State University

Gorky Maxim (1868-1936), writer

GORKY Maxim (real name Maxim Peshkov) (1868-1936), writer, playwright, publicist, public figure. First visited St. Petersburg in September–October 1899. In 1900 joined the Znanie Publishing Company; and headed it for over ten years

Granovskaya E.M., (1877-1968), actress

GRANOVSKAYA Elena Mavrikievna (1877-1968, Leningrad), actress, People's Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1944). Graduated from Annenschule (1895)

Kopelyan E.Z., (1912-1975), actor

KOPELYAN Efim Zakharovich (1912-1975, Leningrad), actor, people's Artist of the USSR (1973). Studied at the studio of the Bolshoy Drama Theatre (1935), worked for this theatre for the rest of his life

Kustodiev B.M., (1878-1927), Artist

KUSTODIEV Boris Mikhailovich (1878-1927, Leningrad) artist, graphic artist and theatre artist. He lived in St. Petersburg from 1896. He was trained at the Academy of Arts (1896-1903) under I. E. Repin; was a member of the Academy (1909)

Lebedev E.A., (1917-1997), actor

LEBEDEV Evgeny Alexeevich (1917-1997, St. Petersburg), actor, People's Artist of the USSR (1968), Hero of Socialist Labor (1987), Honorary Citizen of St. Petersburg (1996). Graduated from Moscow Central School of Dramatic Art (1940)

Literary and Artistic Society Theatre

LITERARY AND ARTISTIC SOCIETY THEATRE (65 Fontanka River Embankment), also known as St. Petersburg Maly or Suvorin Theatre, named after the president of the society, A.S. Suvorin, who is also the theatre's director and owner

Luspekaev P.B., (1927-1970), actor

LUSPEKAEV Pavel Borisovich (1927-1970), actor, Honoured Artist of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1965). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, he served in a partisan unit, where he was wounded

Monakhov N.F., (1875-1936), actor

MONAKHOV Nikolay Fedorovich (1875, St. Petersburg - 1936, Leningrad), actor, People's Artist of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1932). Received some education at a school in St

Nikitin Fedor Mikhailovich (1900-1988), film director

NIKITIN Fedor Mikhailovich (1900-1988), actor, People's Artist of the RSFSR (1969). A student of MKhT School Studio, he worked in theatres of Odessa and Moscow from 1917

Patronage of Art (entry)

PATRONAGE OF ART is disinterested financial and other forms of participation in the culture, science, and assistance to figures of science and culture. The beginning for patronage of art in St

Samokhvalov A.N., (1894-1971), artist

SAMOKHVALOV Alexander Nikolaevich (1894-1971, Leningrad), painter, graphic artist, theatre artist, sculptor. Studied at the Architecture Department of the Academy of Arts (1914-18) under V.A. Belyaev and G.R

Shchyuko V.A. (1878-1939), architect

SHCHYUKO Vladimir Alexeevich (1878-1939), architect and set designer, associate academy member of architecture (1911). Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (1904). In the design of K.V

Smoktunovsky I.M. (1925-1994), actor

SMOKTUNOVSKY (born Smoktunovich) Innokenty Mikhailovich (1925-1994), actor; People's Artist of the USSR in 1974 and Hero of Socialist Labour in 1990. He participated in World War II

Strzhelchik V.I., (1921-1995), actor

STRZHELCHIK Vladislav Ignatievich (1921, Petrograd - 1995, St. Petersburg), actor, People"s Artist of the USSR (1974), Hero of Socialist Labour (1988). In 1938-47, he studied at the school-studio of the Bolshoy Drama Theatre under B.A

Suvorin А.S. (1834-1912), publisher

SUVORIN Alexey Sergeevich (1834-1912, St. Petersburg), publicist, writer, publisher. Suvorin completed special courses of the Noblemen Regiment (1853), and from 1863 when he settled in St

Tolubeev Y.V., (1906-1979), actor

TOLUBEEV Yury Vladimirovich (1906 - 1979, Leningrad), actor, People's Artist of the USSR (1956), Hero of Socialist Labour (1976). Graduated from the Leningrad Dramatics School (1929; today Academy of Dramatic Arts)

Tovstonogov G.A., (1913-1989), director

TOVSTONOGOV Georgy Alexandrovich (1913-1989, Leningrad), director, pedagogue, theatre worker, People's Artist of the USSR (1957), Hero of Socialist Labour (1983), corresponding member of the Academy of Arts of GDR (1983)

Tsentralny (Central) District

TSENTRALNY (CENTRAL) DISTRICT, an administrative-territorial entity within St. Petersburg, with the territorial administration situated at 176 Nevsky Prospect. The district was set up in 1994, when Smolninsky District

Volodin A.M. (1919-2001), playwright

VOLODIN (real surname Lifshitz) Alexander Moiseevich (1919-2001, St. Petersburg), playright, poet, script and prose writer. Took part in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45

White Nights, festival

WHITE NIGHTS, A musical and theatrical festival succeeding the Leningrad Festival of Arts held from 1958 to 1963. The annual festival was conducted in Leningrad from 1964 to 1990, on 21-29 June

Yuryev Y.M., (1872-1948), actor

YURYEV Yury Mikhailovich (1872-1948, Leningrad), actor, pedagogue, theatre worker, People's Artist of the USSR (1939). Graduated from drama courses at the Moscow Drama School (1893)