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Innovative Entertainment at Moscow's Lenkom Theater

Built in 1907 as a Merchant's Club, and in 1927 becoming the home of TRAM – the Theater for Working Youth - Moscow's Lenkom Theater has earned a reputation for being at the forefront of experimental theater during its 85-year history, having celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2007. Many well-known Russian actors gained valuable experience at the Lenkom Theater, including, among others, Zinaida Shchennikova, Andrei Takovsky, Oleg Yankovsky, Inna Churikova, Leonid Bronevoy, Vladimir Vsevolodov, Vladimir Solovyov, Aleksandr Pelevin, Nikolai Karachentsov and Nikolay Kryuchkov, the latter reaching iconic status in the cinema era of the 1930s to 1960s, appearing in 94 films during his successful acting career.

The current name of the theater is derived from the name of historic Russian leader Vladimir Lenin, and the name of the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, referred to as Komsomol. The theater continues to feature the works of young and innovative playwrights and actors, as it has throughout its history. The building itself is architecturally significant, having been constructed in 1907 in the Modernism style of the time as designed by architect Illarion Ivanov-Schiltz. Having originally housed a Merchant's Club, the building hosted theatrical productions and musical concerts which were attended by the aristocracy of the time, but following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Lenkom Theater was taken over by anarchists for a year before the Sverdlov Communist University took it over and in 1920 hosted the 3rd congress of the Komsomol, or Russian Communist University Youth, which featured a speech by Vladimir Lenin – the leader of the communists in Russia at the time.

When the theater first starting hosting performances, many of the actors had day jobs in construction and other activities, but eventually, performing at the theater became a full-time occupation and in February 1938 Ivan Bersenev became the head of Lenkom Theater. Having previously worked at the Second Moscow Art Theater, which had been shut down by authorities of the time, Bersenev brought a team of experiences actors with him, including creative greats such as Serafima Birman, Sofya Giatsintova and Rostislav Platt. Reportedly, it took some time for the more classically trained actors to work along well with the younger inexperienced actors who were inclined to be experimental, but eventually the troupe of actors gelled and starting producing history-making theater. Today, audiences can be assured that when they visit the Lenkom Theater in Moscow, they will be entertained with the best that is available in innovative theater entertainment.

 



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