Moscow Academic Theatre of Vladimir Mayakovsky is one of the oldest and most celebrated theatre ensembles in Moscow and Russia.
Its building was constructed in 1886 specifically as a venue for famous foreign artists visiting Moscow. Among those who performed there were Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, Ernst von Possart, Jean Mounet-Sully, Coquelin Sr., Coquelin Jr. and many other celebrities. At the turn of the 20th century the theater was even called Internationale because the artists who formed the ensemble came from all over Europe.
The Revolution changes the destiny of the theatre At Nikitsky. Since 1920 the newly founded Theatre of Revolutionary Satire (Terevsat) was based in the building. In 1922 it was reorganized and renamed into Revolution Theatre with Vsevolod Meyerhold at the helm.
This is when the contemporary biography of the Mayakovsky Theatre begins.
Vsevolod Meyerhold was in charge of the Revolution Theatre only for two years and later switched entirely to the work at his own theatre. In 1931 another outstanding personality of the Soviet culture Alexei Popov (1892-1961) becomes the director of the theatre. Among the better known productions of this period (1931 – 1942) were Poem of an Axe, My Friend, Romeo and Juliet, Death of a Squadron, The Dog in the Manger, Tanya, Without a Dowry, Mary Stuart and others.
His successor was Nikolay Okhlopkov who became the director in 1943. His period that lasted till 1967 brought such productions as The Young Guard, Mother, Zykovs, Thunderstorm, Hamlet, The Bug, Aristocrats, The Irkutsk Story, Mother Courage and Her Children, Medea, Death of Tarelkin.
In 1968 Andrey Goncharov becomes an Artistic Director of the theater. He was the theatre art director for more than 30 years up until he passed away in 2001. The most significant productions of three decades were Talents And Admirers, Vanyushin’s Children, The Nineteen, The Bankrupt, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Man of La Mancha, Talks With Socrates, Flight, Seagull, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, The Life of Klim Samgin, Fruits of Enlightenment, Sunset, Napoleon The First, The Victim of the Century, A Doll’s House.
In January 2002 Sergey Artsybashev (who had been leading the Pokrovka Theatre for ten years before that) was appointed the artistic director of the Mayakovsky Theatre. Among his main productions one should mention Gogol’s Marriage, Dead Souls, The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich as well as Karamazovs after Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
On 20 May 2011 Moscow Department of Culture made a decision to appoint the director Mindaugas Karbauskis, who has received several of highest theatre awards of Russia, as the new artistic director of the Mayakovsky Theatre.
At all times the theatre was famous for its actors. In different years Maria Babanova and Mikhail Astangov, Maksim Shtraukh and Lev Sverdlin, Faina Ranevskaya and Lidia Sukharevskaya, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, Olga Yakovleva, Natalia Gundareva and Alexander Lazarev Senior played in this theatre. Today the theatre company is presented by such remarkable masters as Svetlana Nemolyaeva, Igor Kostolevsky, Mikhail Filippov, Evgenia Simonova, Efim Baykovsky, Igor Okhlupin, Olga Prokofieva, Daniil Spivakovsky, Anatoly Lobotsky, Anna Ardova, Lyubov Rudenko and others.