Articles / Theatres


Subject / Art

THEATRES. For the first time theatres in the suburbs of St.Ptersburg appeared in the end of the XVIII century at the Emperor country palaces (court theatres) and in the country estates of nobility (serf theatres). By 1861 there existed 27 serf country estate theatres in the suburbs of St.Petersburg. From the end of the XVIII century to the beginning of the XX century Theatre Head Administration managed six government and court country theatres. One of them was Gatchina Town theatre (1760s – 1820s) which was located on the Stable square on the premises of Gatchina Palace (in 1783 a special building to house the theatre was erected; doesn’t exist nowadays). At the “minor court” of Grand Prince Pavel Petrovich there was an amateur theatre “Gatchinskiye Zabavy” (“Gatchina Town Entertainment”), which existed up to 1788. Among the most significant government theatres working on the territory of the modern Leningrad Oblast one can name Vyborg Town theatre founded in 1832 (a special building was built in 1843;it was destroyed in 1944) and closed in 1918. After the Theatre Head Administration monopoly over organization of public entertainment had been abolished in 1882, “cottage theatres”, which worked as single-play companies in the summer period, started to appear. On the territory of the Vyborg Gubernia and St.Petersburg Gubernia such kind of theatres existed in Terioki Town, Sestroretsk Town, Raivole Town, Pargolovo Town, Tosno Town. After 1882 two kinds of theatres started to develop: amateur and public theatres (for low-income groups). Theatre stages appeared in LugaTown, Siversky Urban Settlement, Dibuny Urban Settlement, Sablino Settlement (modern Ul’yanovka Urban Settlement ). An amateur theatre in Ryabovo (modern Vsevolozhsk Town) was very popular; several summer theatres were located in Shlisselburg Uyezd. Some theatres were aimed not only at summer residents but also at local people. In particular, an amateur theatre where young people from Gatchina Town, Marienburg Town and Vilisovo Town worked, was located in Volosovo Town, performances of the theatre took place in the building of Volosovo Railway College. Industrial enterprises opened People’s Houses which housed theatres. In 1905 the first mobile drama theatre under the guidance of P.P. Gaideburov stared to function at the Ligovsky People’s House in St.Petersburg, this theatre started the mode of mobile theatres . In the summer time the theatre gave performances in the towns of St.Petersburg Gubernia and toured Russia as well. The theatre worked until 1928. In the period from 1920s to 1930s there were some mobile state theatres (“Svobodny Teatr” (“Free Theatre”), “Komedia” (“Comedy”), etc.), which gave performances in the city and in the oblast. Variety theatres, circus one-play shows, youth theatres (“Sinyaya bluza” (“Blue Blouse”), “Zhivaya Gazeta (“Live Newspaper”), “Komsoglaz”, etc.) worked as one-play theatres giving performances in the oblast towns. Mobile theatres continued their work during WWII visiting the army detachments at the front. After the war mobile theatres network continued to develop. The first state permanent theatre on the territory of the Leningrad Oblast became Vyborg Russian Drama Theatre founded in 1940. At present Culture Committee under the Leningrad Oblast Government managers six regional theatres located in St.Petersburg, Vyborg Town and Gatchina Town: Drama Theatre at Liteiny Pr.; Drama Theatre “Komedianty” (“Comedians”); Satire Theatre on Vasilievsky Island; “Svyataya Krepost” (“Holy Fortress”), drama and puppet theatre “El’fy” (“Elfs”), variety-musical theatre-studio for children (both in Vyborg Town), touring Young Audience Theatre (Gatchina Town). Public theatres appeared in several towns of the Leningrad Oblast, also there are 35 popular theatres. (ref. National theatres, Popular theatres).

Dmitriyeva, Natalya Vladimirovna
Kruzhnov, Yuri Nikolayevich

Gaideburov, Pavel Pavlovich

Leningrad Oblast, the/Gatchina District
Leningrad Oblast, the/Gatchina District/Gatchina Town
Leningrad Oblast, the/Luga District/Luga Town
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the/Shlisselburg Uyezd
Leningrad Oblast, the/Gatchina District/Siversky Urban Settlement
Leningrad Oblast, the/Tosno District/Tosno Town
Leningrad Oblast, the/Tosno District/Ul'yanovka Urban Settlement
Leningrad Oblast, the/Volosovo District/Volosovo Town
Leningrad Oblast, the/Vsevolozhsk District/Vsevolozhsk Town
Leningrad Oblast, the/Vyborg District/Vyborg Town

Глезеров С. Дачные театры. URL:,
Культура Ленинградской области на рубеже тысячелетий. СПб., 2003,

Subject Index
Amateur People Theatres
"Comedians", a theatre
Drama Theatre at Liteiny Pr.
"Elfs", children variety-music theatre-studio
"Saint Fortress", the Drama and Puppet Theatre
Theatre of Satire in Vasilyevsky Island
Youth Theatre (Gatchina Town)

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