Vakhtangov Theatre turns 98

13 November 2019

The Vakhtangov Theatre was founded in 1921. Eugene Vakhtangov was a young brilliant student of Konstantin Stanislavsky, the world-known establisher of the Method. Eugene Vakhtangov believed that the actor is the crucial element of any theatre performance. He also trusted that the essence of theatre should be ‘theatrical’, and created an onstage world of fantastic, magical, and fairy-tale events while retaining Stanislavsky’s psychological acting inventions. 

October 13, 1921 ‘The miracle of Saint Anthony’ by Maurice Maeterlinck opened the first Vakhtangov theatre building. It was not a playhouse actually; in origin this was a private house built in the XIX century for a manufacturer Vasiliy Berg. Since 1921 the play-house was rebuilt several times but never changed the address: 26, Arbat street.

The first production of the company was successful but the popularity of the second production was overwhelming. ‘Princess Turandot’, a commedia dell’arte play by Carlo Gozzi, appeared to be a real masterpiece.

The first Vakhtangov Theatre knew flourishing seasons and difficult times, and 12 years ago it stepped into the new period of its development. In 2007, Rimas Tuminas was appointed Artistic Director of the Vakhtangov Theatre. He has been staging his ‘signature’ productions in a manner of a total-theatre mix of words, music, mime and symbolism. If it’s not the carnival of Eugene Vakhtangov, it is undeniably a festivity anticipation and aspiration.

Rimas Tuminas directs performances in many theatres of Europe and Russia, always attracting attention and being appreciated by both general public and refined theatre critics. The Artistic Director shows great discernment in his choice of actors, cherishing the older generation and bringing up younger and promising performers.