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Entries / Cabaret Theatres (entry)

Cabaret Theatres (entry)

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre/Stage, Cabaret, Variety Shows

CABARET THEATRES became widely popular in St. Petersburg from 1908 and occupied a prominent place in the life and art during the pre-Revolutionary decade. Modelled on western European cabaret theatres, they included some features of national culture and leisure, e.g. amateur variety revues knows as "kapustniki". Originally meeting places of artistic intelligentsia, cabaret theatres transformed into public entertainment being a kind of the Theatre of Pieces. They provided interest club relations, on the one hand, and showed the latest art experiments and introduced creative ideas of symbolism, futurism, and other trends striving to impose a new style of social behaviour, on the other hand. The most prominent literati and artists took part in the management and activities of cabaret theatres. The first of them were opened as part of the Theatre Club situated in Yusupov mansion at 42 Liteyny Avenue. These were Lukomorie opened in 1908 with V. E. Meyerhold at the head featuring M. M. Fokin, artists of the World of Art, K. E. Gibshman, et al. and the Distorting Mirror that operated in 1908-18, 1922-31, as well as a season in Moscow in 1923/24, opened by A. R. Kugel and Z. V. Kholmskaya with the support of literati featuring directors R. A. Ungern and N. N. Evreinov, actors of the Literature and Art Society and Komissarzhevskaya's theatre, designers Y. P. Annenkov and M. N. Yakovlev, composers I. A. Sats and V. G. Erenberg, et al. Basically sceptical and ironic, programmes of cabaret theatres consisted of burlesques, feuilletons, ceremonies, comic sketches, pantomimes, pieces, songs, and dances, and included adlibs, simulations, and performances of guest actors and actresses. Vampuka the African Bride was a burlesque opera and a classical kind of performance shown at cabaret theatres. It was staged at the Distorting Mirror in 1909 to become a common name. Among other famous cabaret theatres of St. Petersburg were F. F. Komissarzhevsky and Evreinov's Merry Theatre for Aged People that operated in Komissarzhevskaya's theatre at 39 Ofitserskaya Street in 1909; Doctor Dapertutto's Intermezzo House that operated in 1910-11; Stray Dog - a club for artists of the Intimate Theatre Society, the only non-profit organisation of its kind, that operated in 1912-15; Comedians Halt or Star Gazer, the successor of Stray Dog, attached to Petrograd Art Society in 1916-19; Black Cat opened by V. Azov under the name of V. A. Ashkinazi in 1910 and F. N. Falkovsky's Queen of Spades that operated in 1914-15, both situated in Kononovsky Hall at 61 Moika River Embankment; A. S. Polonsky's Bat that operated at the corner of Sadovaya Street and Gorokhovaya Steet in 1914; Bluebird that was situated at the corner of Nikolaevskaya Street and Borovaya Street in 1915; and Bi-Ba-Bo featuring K. A. Mardzhanov that operated in the basement of the Passage in 1917. A major contribution to the cabaret movement was made by N. A Teffi, M. A. Kuzmin, A. T. Averchenko, N. I. Kulbin, and N. V. Petrov, as well as poets, artists, and musicians of all schools and trends. Many art forms and methods developed by cabaret theatres have been actively used as media of expression in both theatre and variety art.

Reference: Тихвинская Л. И. Кабаре и театры миниатюр в России, 1908-1917. М., 1995.

A. A. Kirillov.

Annenkov Yury Pavlovich
Ashkinazi Vladimir Alexandrovich (pseudonym V. Azov)
Averchenko Arkady Timofeevich
Erenberg Vladimir Georgievich
Evreinov Nikolay Nikolaevich
Falkovsky Fedor Nikolaevich
Fokin Valery Vladimirovich
Gibshman Konstantin Eduardovich
Kholmskaya Zinaida Vasilievna
Komissarzhevsky Fedor Fedorovich
Kugel Alexander Rafailovich
Kulbin Nikolay Ivanovich
Kuzmin Mikhail Alexeevich
Mardzhanov Kote Alexandrovich
Meyerhold Vsevolod Emilievich
Petrov Nikolay Vasilievich
Polonsky A.S.
Sats Ilya Alexandrovich
Teffi Nadezhda Alexandrovna
Ungern Rudolf Alexandrovich
Yakovlev Mikhail (Michel) Nikolaevich

Borovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Dekabristov St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 39
Gorokhovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Liteiny Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 42
Marata St./Saint Petersburg, city
Moika River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 61
Sadovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city

Тихвинская Л. И. Кабаре и театры миниатюр в России, 1908-1917. М., 1995

The subject Index
World of Art, Association
Literary and Artistic Society Theatre
Literary and Artistic Society Theatre
Komissarzhevskaya Theatre
Dom Intermedy, cabaret theatre
Stray Dog, Cabaret
Comedians Halt, Cabaret
Bi-Ba-Bo, Cabaret Theatre