Ilnar Tukhbatov/TASS
The first Tatar international puppet theatre was bilingual, staging plays in Russian and Tatar, from the day it opened in 1934. For years Ekiyat (which means "folk tale" in Tatar) performed in a space too small for it inside an old church before moving into a new building that looks like a magic castle with its multitude of turrets and columns, in the spring of 2012. There are two spaces inside: one seating 250, the other – 100. The puppeteer company shares the premises with the Kazan State Tatar Youth Theatre Named After Gabdulla Kariyev, which caters to the teen audience. The two companies complement each other perfectly. On top of the universally known and loved The Nutcracker, The Snow Queen, and Mukha-Tsokotukha, Ekiyat stages plays by Tatar playwrights, and has a puppet show for adults on its repertoire: Khanuma.
Ilnar Tukhbatov/TASS

Kazan State Youth Theatre staged its first show – Rovesniki (Peers) – on November 30, 1932. The Theatre has seen bad times and good times in its long history. One time the troupe became homeless for a few years after a fire destroyed their space. And in 1996, their rendition of Shakespeare's The Tempest won them the Golden Mask Award in the "Play of the Year" category.

Things have changed yet again at the end of 2014 as a young new director, Tufan Imamutdinov, stepped in. Imamutdinov stresses international and experimental projects, so unsurprisingly his debut production in the capacity of director-in-chief was "War Through the Eyes of Children. Fragments," a German-Russian project based on the recollections of people who were children during World War II.

The Theatre has a wide variety of plays on its playlist, all created for an audience of children and teens. The company's staging of Gelsomino in the Country of Liars is a reinterpretation of Gianni Rodari's famous book in the context of today's Russia. They also do a poignant rendition of The Little Prince.

Ilnar Tukhbatov/TASS

The Kazan Academic Russian Bolshoi Drama Theatre of V. I. Kachalov, one of the oldest theatre companies in Russia, gives centre-stage to musical comedies with lots of music and dancing, eccentric costumes and props. This is the signature style of the company's art director Alexander Slavutsky. Just as effervescent are Kachalov Theatre's children's shows, which draw large audiences. The company has the plays Golden Key, Little Red Riding Hood, Doctor Aybolit and Ivan the Fool and the Demons on its children's playlist.

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