The Theatre on Vasilyevsky is one of the youngest in St. Petersburg, although the theatre as art has always been presented in this historical part of the city since olden times. The Russian State Public Theater on Vasilyevsky Island was established in 1756. The first to chair it was Sumarokov A.P., great Russian writer and playwright, who created a repertoire for the Russian theatre of mid-18th century. The current Theater on Vasilyevsky from one hand is a successor of glorious cultural traditions and on the other hand is a developing contemporary artistic crew.
The new theater in Saint Petersburg was born in 1989 being an experimental studio of the famous local band Sekret. Its chief administrator Vladimir Slovokhotov initiated the establishment of a new theatre studio.
Soon after its foundation, the studio was separated from The Sekret, on September 1, of 1989, Vladimir Slovokhotov registered an independent theater, calling it the Experimental Satire Theatre. There are several versions of the origin of this name, and the most probable one can be explained by V.D. Slovokhotov: “To tell the truth, it was like that: to get a state status for the theatre, I used the ambitions of the officials. I told them that there is a Satire Theater in Moscow, but there is none in St. Petersburg, how could it be? And, of course, I had to mention Saltykov-Shchedrin and our other famous satirists. ”
September 1, 1989 is considered the official birthday of the young Theatre. Though it is possible to say that it was not the only birthday. Appeared during the perestroika theatrical boom, the troupe faced some financial problems over time. And the artistic director and the head of this new Theatre, having a ready repertoire, his own facilities, and a talented troupe, proposed his theatre to the Committee on Culture of the Leningrad Region. The gift was accepted, and starting with January 1991 the Saint Petersburg Satire Theater was reborn as a state regional theatre.
And with this new status the theatre especially needed a permanent stage. Just the same time, the head of the Uritsky Tobacco Factory decided to get rid of their House of Culture, located in an old mansion on Vasilyevsky Island. Slovokhotov V.D. had to be persistent and together with the help of a certain amount of luck and mysticism, the building of the former People’s House, built at the expense of the widow of the state counsellore Mrs. von Derwies, became home for the young theater. The address was added to its name and now it finally became the State Satire Theater on Vasilyevsky Island.
And Vladimir Slovokhotov became its permanent artistic director and chief executive.
He managed to gather a brilliant troupe, to earn and strengthen the prestige of the new theatre company. In the short history of the Theater there were many interesting moments and wonderful names who collaborated with the troupe: poet Alexander Volodin and musician Julius Kim, actors Antonina Shuranova and Alexander Khochinsky, Vladimir Osobik, Valentina Kovel, Alexander Chaban, Alexey Osminin, Pavlina Konopchuk, Evgeny Leonov-Gladyshev, Dmitry Vorobiev, Sergey Agafonov, and also Veniamin Basner, the author of the music for the performances...
Now the troupe consists of wonderful masters such as People’s artists of Russia Natalya Kutasova, Yuri Itskov, Tatyana Malyagina, Merited Artists of Russia Elena Rakhlenko, Sergey Lysov, Alexander Levit, Tatiana Bashlakova, Nadezhda Zhivodiorova, Dmitry Evstafiev, Artem Tsypin, artists Ilya Noskov, Mikhail Nikolaev, Elena Martynenko, Tatiana Kalashnikova, Svetlana Shchedrina, Andrey Feskov, Arseniy Mytsyk, Ekaterina Zorina, Natalya Kruglova, Natalya Lyzhina, Tatyana Mishina, Alexander Udaltsov, Maria Fefilova, Vladislav Lobanov and others. The troupe is continuously replenished with young and talented artists. Both eminent luminaries and young actors are widely known not only for theatre works, but also for their notable roles in film and television.
A number of famous directors collaborated with the Theater: Rezo Gabriadze, Roman Viktyuk, Anatoly Morozov, Roman Smirnov, Igor Larin, Akhmat Bayramkulov, Vladimir Koyfman and others. Many directors have started their professional career here, their debuts on this stage made Alexey Yankovsky, Oleg Rybkin, Svetlana Svirko, Ksenia Mitrofanova, Denis Khusniyarov and others.
For a short period of time, the Satire Theater on Vasilyevsky became known in the city and all over the country. Its performances The Song of the Volga by Rezo Gabriadze, Tanya-Tanya by Vladimir Tumanov became a theatrical sensation, earning the Triumph, Golden Mask and Golden Soffit awards. The performances Vassa Zheleznova and University of Laughs were nominated for the State Prizes of Russia. The Satire Theater took part in the international festivals in Avignon, Paris, Helsinki, Berlin, Palermo, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Gomel. At the Kontakt festival in Poland, Antonina Shuranova received the Best Actress Award for Vassa Zheleznova.
The geography of theatre tours is rather vast including Russia, the Baltic states, CIS and other foreign countries ... Belarus hosted several large tours with huge success among the spectators. The Theater is known in the cities of Siberia, the Altai region, the Volga region, in the Urals and the Kuban.
The theater on Vasilyevsky does not neglect its regional status. Frequent foreign tours and trips to cultural centres of Russia do not stop the Theater staff from regularly showing its performances in cities and districts of the Leningrad Region.
During the celebration of Victory Day in the World War II, the Theatre always holds the Front Concerts for the residents of the city and Leningrad Region with wartime songs, poems and dances.
The Theater’s repertoire includes Russian and foreign classics, modern plays, drama and comedy, farce and classical melodrama, as well as children's performances for kids and teenagers. The traditional theatrical forms on the Theatre on Vasilyevsky stage are combined with brave experiments and creative stage concepts. Caring about expanding its repertoire, the Theatre releases several premieres every season.