Mayakovsky Theater - Performing Through Time

The Mayakovsky Theater was a mid 18th century building, and was known then as the Theater of Revolutionary Satire. Impresario and actor, Georg Paradiz had rented the building from Princess Shakhovskaya-Glebova-Streshneva in the years 1885 to 1887. The princess was the last remaining member of the family. Paradiz had used the building for his operetta and decided to hire architects Tersky and Shekhtel, to rebuild the structure as a theater. The Theater of Revolutionary Satire did not have a permanent company, with various guest actors making appearances at the theater, such as Ernst Possart, Sarah Bernhardt and Ernesto Rossi. The theater is situated in No. 19 at the junction on Maly Kisloivsky Lane in Moscow.

In 1920 the Theater of Revolutionary Satire opened, with V. Meyerhold being the first Art Director. The Theater of Revolutionary Satire was renamed to the Theater of Revolution in 1922, and in 1935, A. Popov joined the theater as Director. N. Okhlopkov, a prominent producer, became the head of the theater in 1943 and the present, was the basis of his production performances. In 1954 the theater was renamed, yet again, to the Mayakovsky Theater and received Academic Theater status in 1964.

The addition of No.26, on the left of the Mayakovsky Theater building, was erected by and owned by a passionate theater lover named Major-General Pozdnyakov. His little serf theater gave performances in the building and his wife, Yelizaveta, taught the new serf actresses how to act. The director of the Major-General’s theater was Sila Sandunov. The Major-General was an eccentric man with a wicked sense of humour, as was his footman Lunin. Both men were jokers and often Pozdnyakov would wander around during his productions, dressed either like an Indian or as a Persian. On hearing about the oriental ambassador's visit to Moscow, the Major-General decided to invite the ambassador to a ball that was held at his home in the ambassador’s honor. Unfortunately, the Major-General died suddenly during the preparations, and on arrival, the ambassador was greeted by Pozdnyakov’s loyal footman, Lunin. Lunin explained to the ambassador that, “The General apologizes for the fact that the ball has been cancelled because of his death.”

A. Goncharov became the head of the Mayakovsky Theater in 1967 and the theater has been closely affiliated with the branch on Sretenka Street since 1981.


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