Akimov State Academic Comedy Theater

The Akimov State Academic Comedy Theater was established in St Petersburg in 1926 as the Theater of Satire. Even from the start of its existence, the troupe of the Akimov Comedy Theater was considered extremely talented and the theater became famous for its noteworthy performances. It was the foresight and the ingenious mind of the founder of the theater that catapulted the theater into stardom. N.P. Akimov was not only the founder of the Akimov State Comedy Theater, but its first artistic director. In 1989, the Theater of Satire was renamed the Akimov State Academic Comedy Theater. Akimov’s plays were always original, and the theater-goers loved every minute of the performances. Even today, there are many famous comical and lyrical actors and actresses who form part of the Akimov State Comedy Theater troupe.

During the years 1901 to 1903, architect G.V. Baranovsky was responsible for the building of the auditorium, which formed part of the Eliseyev Trade House ensemble. The Akimov Comedy Theater in St Petersburg can accommodate approximately 883 people, and the historical reference considers the official foundation date of the theater to be 1 October 1929. "The Cheater", written by V. Shkarkin, was staged by director D. Gutman together with L.Utesov’s jazz theater on 1 October 1929.

Due to the rapid changes in leadership and uncertain artistic principle, the Akimov State Academic Comedy Theater did not make a significant impact in its first few years. During these turbulent years the theater did produce productions such as "The Squaring of the Circle", "The Flower Road", "Miracle Alloy", "A Republic on Wheels" and a few others. Although these productions did have a positive effect on the comedy repertory, it was only after the arrival of N. Akimov in 1935 that the theatre was truly established and common views were unified.

Akimov managed to secure actors such as T. Chokoi, A. Bondi and P. Sukhanov and the addition of K. Zlobin, T. Sezenevskaya, V. Uskov and L. Lyulko in 1940. Many talented directors were attracted to the Akinov State Academic Comedy Theater due to the distinctive style of the troupe and success of the theater. Ties with translator M. Lozinsky brought to life the translated versions of "Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare and "The Widow of Valencia" by Lope de Vega. Playwright E. Schwartz had created a new genre of play especially for the theater, titled "Shadow". The play was a philosophical fairy tale for an adult audience.

The Akinov State Academic Comedy Theater was thrown into disarray by World War II, with many workers being sent to the front, leaving the besieged actors who remained to continue performing until 1941. The theater was evacuated to Caucasus and then on to Central Asia in December, during which the theater staged fourteen renewed plays and sixteen new, through the duration of the war. The troupe only returned to Leningrad in 1945.

Akimov died in 1968 and VS. Golikov was then appointed as chief director of the theater. P.N. Formenko headed the theatre from 1977 until 1981, and since 1995 until present the artistic director of the Akimov State Academic Comedy Theater has been Tatyana Kazakova. Kazakova is known as the most brilliant director in St Petersburg, and under her guidance the theater has continued to uphold a standard of staging masterpieces and going on to win many awards for their productions.


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