First exhibition of future museum and theatre centre to open in Moscow

First exhibition of future museum and theatre centre to open in Moscow
19th century noise machines and Russian variety show museum: the new theatre district in Zamoskvorechye.

On 27 April, former medical facility No 32 in Tatarskaya Street, Central Administrative Area, will turn into the venue of a new exhibition of the future museum and theatre centre. The centre itself will feature a museum of Russian variety genre and will open in 2018. The medical facility was transferred a year ago to the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum. By 2019, its territory will turn into a theatre area. The work will be completed in time for the museum’s 125th anniversary.

Hospital wards and Dostoyevsky cartoons

The press service of the Bakhrushin Museum said that Moscow’s stage designers will be the first to host an exhibition in the new centre. The Results of Season No 53 exhibition will take place between 27 April and 31 May, this year in the former medical facility No 32. The expo will take place on the first floor, which underwent some renovation but retained the layout of the hospital and even some of the medical equipment: sketches for theatre plays will be placed on wall brackets in the former physical therapy room.

Visitors will see photos, video installations and even cartoons devoted to plays staged by Russian theatres. “Moving” will be the exhibitions theme. The interior will feature duct tape, corrugated cardboard, craft paper and cardboard. The expo will display various stage sets, models and sketches. For instance, the space of the Stanislavsky Electrical Theatre artist Anastasia Nefyodova will feature drawings of costumes, photos, collages and even cartoons devoted to the play Idiotology, based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot.

After the Results of the Season No 53, the new venue will be used for other projects.

Building reconstruction and Russian variety show museum

The reconstruction of the four-storey medical facility will be completed in 2018. It will host a museum and theatre centre with a total area of 4,000 square metres. The ground and partly first and second floors will be open to the public. The ground floor will have a recreation area and a café with a summer terrace in the courtyard, as well as exhibition space with an area of about 500 square metres.

The first and second floors will host temporary exhibitions devoted to contemporary theatre, and exhibitions of the future Russian variety show museum.

The new museum will feature the history of this kind of show in Russia. Visitors will learn how it was born in the first cabaret clubs in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, and what genres there are, like singing, dance, circus, jazz band and stand-up and original genres. Exhibitions will be devoted to the life and art of Russian variety masters: Arkady Raikin, Leonid Utyosov, Klavdia Shulzhenko, and others. Museum goers will be able to see both items from the collection of Alexei Bakhrushin, the founder of the Theatre Museum, and material about the Soviet and modern Russian variety genre.

Other rooms in the museum and theatre centre will be occupied by administrative departments and archives, which will allow for expanding the exhibition area of the museum.

Theatre area in Moscow centre

In 2019, the area surrounding the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum will turn into a museum and theatre zone. It will be located between the Bakhrushina, Tatarskaya and Zatsepsky Val streets. It will feature a summer terrace for staging events. On the Garden Ring side there will be a French garden with flowerbeds where one can walk and relax.

There will be several pavilions near the museum with theatre entertainments for children featuring the secrets from the theatre backstage of the 19th century. Young visitors will see special mechanisms such as noise machines, stage curtain lift systems, and more.

“The area of the Theatre Museum was the estate of its founder, Alexei Bakhrushin (1865-1929), in the early 20th century. Now the museum strives to recreate the image and environment of a Russian urban estate,” said the museum’s general director, Dmitry Rodionov. “In 2016, we installed benches, planted fruit trees: apple, pear, plum, and cherry as well as blackcurrant bushes, and installed a small glass gazebo for holding workshops for children.”

In 2016, the museum expanded its area: it received the former medical facility No 32, a constructivist building, from the city.  It was built in the 1930s and housed a school. In the early 1950s, it was turned into a medical unit.

The Bakhrushin Theatre Museum dates back to 1894. It currently has nine branches in Moscow and two in Zaraisk and Ulyanovsk. There are about 1.5 million exhibits in its archives.