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Obraztsov Theatre, State Central Puppet Theatre Named after Sergey Obraztsov (Moscow)

3 Sadovaya-Samotechnaya Street, Moscow (tel.: +7 495 699-33-10, +7 495 699-53-73, +7 495 699-79-72), Metro station: "Tsvetnoy Bulvar".

Map

http://www.puppet.ru

There are many cultural and historical intellectual values in Russia. However, the name of Sergey Obraztsov and his State Central Puppet Theatre (the Theatre, for short) are known all over Russia and abroad. It is also indisputable fact that the Theatre is an invaluable national asset of Russia.

The Theatre has been visited by millions of children and adults, dozens of various country and government leaders, hundreds of prominent workers of art, culture and science. Such famous people as Gerard Philipe, Yves Montand, Sophia Loren, Indira Gandhi, Edward Kennedy and many others were in the Theatre.

The Theatre was established on 16 September 1931 and affiliated with the Central House of Art Education for Children. First, only 12 people worked in the Theatre, and from the very beginning it was headed by Sergey Obraztsov, prominent worker of Russian art, actor, director, artist, and writer.

The People's Artist of the USSR and the laureate of State Prizes, Sergey Obraztsov (1901–1992), has been known, loved and remembered by millions of people in Russia and many other countries. His "Obraztsov" puppets have always been enthusiastically welcomed in hundreds of cities of all continents.

In the 20th century, a whole system, culture, network of state professional puppet theatres has been created in the Russian Federation, the CIS countries and far abroad thanks to the Theatre, which has always been a kind of standard for their creation.

Being a lawmaker of acting techniques, directing skills, art and technical performing, Sergey Obraztsov and his Theatre made the world professional puppet theatre look as it looks and features in Russian and foreign cultures today.

All achievements, discoveries, trends, methods, traditions, performances, plays first appeared in the Theatre and then were transferred to other theatres of former Soviet Union including regional and city puppet theatres as well as foreign ones.

As a result of this really great job done by the Master, one of the most famous workers of Russian and world culture of the 20th century, a phenomenon of the State Central Puppet Theatre, the Sergey Obraztsov's House, appeared and still exists. In the Theatre, he raised and fostered several generations of brilliant actors, directors, scene-designers, artists, puppet masters and playwrights, many of whom still work in theatres of Russia and other countries.

On 5 July 2001, it was the 100th birth anniversary of Sergey Obraztsov.

On 16 September 1931, the Theatre was born at the initiative of the House of Art Education for Children. However, the creative credo of the new theatre comprised not just educational mission but also the following point: "the Theatre has to be a kind of laboratory to advance the development of puppet genre." A small company of 12 people leaded by Sergey Obraztsov was short of money and did not have its own scene. However, this could not hinder their experiments. Spectators could watch two or three new performances of the young theatre every year. A car with an abbreviation "GCTK" (Russian abbreviation for the State Central Puppet Theatre) delivered actors with puppets to Moscow yards, schools, parks, and culture centres. The Theatre used traditional forms of performances. The last "Mohicans" of carnival and the last actors of people's puppet theatre, a jigger Ivan Zaitsev and his wife A. Triganova, who put on act a puppet performance Circus on the Stage, were specially invited to the Theatre's company.

On 17 April 1932, an agitation performance Jimm and Dollar (art direction by T. Aleksandrova), based on specially written play by Andrey Globa, became a real premiиre of the young theatre. This was how the Theatre began its searches of the repertoire. It created puppets and decorations original in their designs and freely varied from agitation performances to folk stories.

In 1936, a performance of a fairy-tale Po shchuchemu veleniyu (With a Wave of a Wand) with art direction of S. Obraztsov and V. Terekhov was staged. It had a unique design of a round screen and was considered by many theatre historians to be the "main puppet performance of the 20th century".

The Theatre's performances delighted the audience with their living artistic impression and innovative ideas.

For several years of its existence, the Theatre became very popular. And in 1937, the Government decided to grand them a building in the centre of Moscow, on the Mayakovsky Square. By that time, the Theatre recruited more people and founded its own museum that later became a unique treasury of puppets.

In 1940, Aladdin's Lamp, the most beautiful performance of the Theatre, was staged. It fascinated with its magic of wonderful transformations, delightful number of colours and expressiveness of graceful puppets (art direction by Boris Tuzlukov).

Later, Sergey Obraztsov called these three performances Seagulls of his puppet theatre.

Experimentally, in a "traditional way", the most famous masterpiece of the Puppet Master, satyric overview The Unusual Concert based on mock abilities of puppets, appeared in 1946 (art direction by V. Andrievich and V. Terekhov). It was registered in Guinness World Records.

Satyric genre was mastered by the Theatre as early as in the years of the World War II, when actors visited soldiers and showed them The Front-line Programme consisting of mock political sketches.

After the war, the Theatre continued working in Moscow and at the same time tried to go on tours as much as possible. The Theatre's tours influenced on creation of state puppet theatres in several countries including Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and others.

Since 1956, the Theatre has been a permanent participant of international puppet festivals hold under the sponsorship of the UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette).

In 1970, the Theatre moved to a new building in the Garden Ring. This is an architecture ensemble becoming a standard for all permanent puppet theatres of the world. It is equipped with complex tableau curtains, transforming walls making it possible to surround a spectator with puppets, and "flying" sound.

A wonderful metal clock, decorating the building faзade, is a symbol of the Theatre. Every hour, doors of small box houses around the clock face are opened one by one, and twelve animals, fairy-tale characters, welcome visitors to music of Russian folk song Vo Sadu li v Ogorode arranged by Nikita Bogoslovsky. The animals appear together twice: in midday and in midnight. The clock is designed by sculptors Dmitry Shakhovsky and Pavel Shimes, the dial-work is by Veniamin Kalmanson.

Everybody knows that a theatre begins with a cloakroom. However, the Theatre begins with... the Museum of Puppets (the Museum, for short). Spectators come there long before the performance start and examine the unique collection with much interest.

16 September 1937 is considered to be the day of the Museum foundation. This was the day when the Theatre parted from its strolling life and got its own building on the Mayakovsky Square with everything necessary to work: an auditorium, workshops, a rehearsal room, but also a balcony in the auditorium. There was no sense in making seats for spectators in the balcony. Otherwise, delicate work of puppet masters was not a secret any more. Then it was decided to make an exhibition of puppets there.

There were puppets of the Yefimovs, creators of the Moscow Professional Puppet Theatre, and puppets used in the first performances of the Theatre. However, puppets and property of the last Russian strolling puppet master Ivan Zaitsev were exhibited there first. There were puppets used in the slap-stick comedy Circus on the Stage and characters of a folk puppet comedy Petrushk, and a hand organ of the late 19th century.

Andrey Fedotov, actor and director, was the first manager and active collector of the Museum. Choosing him as a manager was much more than just a success. The expert in puppet theatres and ardent collector, Andrey Fedotov, started the museum collection that could reflect the past and present history of the puppet theatre.

In the Museum, Fedotov was surrounded by dedicated people who loved puppets and theatre art. One of them was Vsevolod Kurdyumov, a former assistant manager of the Museum.

The puppet exhibition, that soon was placed in the Theatre's lobby as well, aroused spectators' interest and left them asking more and more questions. The Theatre's staff began to guide tours before performances, deliver lectures on the history of the puppet theatre, participate in conferences and seminars. Thanks to communications with puppet masters during the conferences and tours around the country and abroad, different materials about theatres of many countries appeared in the Museum.

After dozens of years, the State Central Puppet Theatre is the largest world puppet centre with two buildings in the Moscow Garden Ring, two stages, the Russia's only and most complete library, that has all known literature about puppets, the world biggest Museum of theatre puppets of all known systems from the ancient world till our days, that has no copies but originals only, and also archives of invaluable documents, photographs, and photo, video, audio, film resources...

The Museum has a permanent exhibition in the building of the Theatre. It guides tours, is engaged in research, consultations and tutorials and employs specialists and trainees. A Lyceum is opened for children and adults.

The Museum successfully holds thematic exhibitions both in Russia and abroad. Every year, more than 250,000 people including 175,000 children visit the Museum and its expositions.

The Museum has one of the largest collections of books about the puppet theatre in 43 languages (over 10,000 copies). Most of them are donated by authors. This invaluable collection together with the richest collection of puppet drama make the Museum Library.

The Museum is worthily in the world public eye. During the recent years, the Museum collections have been successfully exhibited in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, the Republic of Korea, France, Italy, Spain, and Iran.

In broad terms, the Museum's materials on the history of the puppet theatre from the ancient world till our days let us consider it to be one of the most valuable specialized collections in the world.

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Obraztsov Theatre, State Central Puppet Theatre Named after Sergey Obraztsov



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