Theatres

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Dark walls, high-end lighting equipment, and a stage visibly primed for experiments… It is Ugol (Corner) Theatre, located on the ground floor of the Shtab creative headquarters. Ugol, established by the Living City Foundation, hosts play readings, guest performances by projects such as "theatre post," shows plays staged by local and guest directing and acting talent, also shows films and stages electronica music shows. The spectators sit as close as possible to the performers. Sometimes a hundred or more people cram into the 50-seat space.
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Tatar theatre was born on December 22, 1906, when a play in Tatar was publicly performed in Kazan for the first time. The company, named Sayar (Itinerant) on the suggestion of the eminent Tatar writer Gabdulla Tukay, was then directed by Ilyas Kudashev-Ashkazarsky, a schoolteacher from Orenburg. The company staged Russian and foreign plays in addition to plays in Tatar, written by such acclaimed classics as Galiasgar Kamal, Karim Tinchurin and Mirkhaidar Faizi.  

The Sayar spin-off theatre companies Nur and Shirkat, teaming up with some frontline theatre companies, made up First National Red October Model Tatar Drama Theatre in 1922, directed by Karim Tinchurin. It was Tinchurin who wrote the play Blue Fabric, which is now the company's signature. The company was named after Galiasgar Kamal in 1939. 

Tatar performing arts really took off in 1966, when Marsel Salimjanov stepped in as the director-in-chief of the State Academic Theatre. Salimjanov is credited with the company's most famous "everlasting" productions, such as Grigory's Brothers-in-Law, which has been shown more than 500 times. The playwright who wrote that play, Tufan Minnulin, is a kind of a resident playwright of the State Academic Theatre. His plays form the core of the company's repertoire.   

Salimjanov won the Golden Mask Award in the "Honour and Dignity" category in 2001. The company is currently directed by Salimjanov's pupil Farid Bikchantayev who, like his mentor, elegantly combines innovation with respect for tradition, which explains such unusual bedfellows as Hodja Nasreddin, Richard III, and contemporary Tatar plays on the company's playbills.   

Several generations of actors play at the State Academic Theatre, from 1960s alumni of the Tatar studio of Mikhail Shchepkin Acting School to recent University of Culture graduates. All performances on the theatre's big and small stages are in Tatar (simultaneous English and Russian translation is available). The company has plays for kids, as well as adults, on its repertoire. The State Academic Theatre has hosted the Nauruz Turkic Peoples Festival (more recently renamed Educational Theatre Forum) since 1998, and "Remeslo" Russian National Festival of Young Tatar Theatre Directors since 2009.
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The Grand Concert Hall (GCH) is the place for classical music in Kazan, boasting a large but cosy auditorium, quality acoustics (the acoustic metrics were calculated in England by some of the world's best in the field), and a Flentrop Dutch-made organ. The current incarnation and name of the concert hall date back to 1996. There had stood a glassy building of the Kazan National Conservatory Ballroom, built in 1967, where the classical-looking Grand Concert Hall is now. The name of composer Salikh Saidashev was awarded to the concert hall in 2000.

The GCH is the main stage for the performances of the National Symphony Orchestra, National Chamber Choir and String Quartet of Tatarstan. It hosts the "White Lilac" Sergei Rachmaninoff Festival of Classical Music, and "Concordia" Sofia Gubaidullina Contemporary Music Festival, as well as relevant pop and jazz acts, such as Denis Matsuyev and Igor Butman.

In addition to its main concert space, which seats 700, the GCH incorporates a 70-seat chamber music room, a rehearsal space, separate spaces for choir and orchestra practice, and individual acoustic rooms.
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This theatre, housed in a building formerly occupied by a concert club and a roller-drome, was formed by students of the Kazan Theatre School in 2010. The auditorium, which seats 200 maximum, is creatively rearranged for every production. Sometimes the actors perform on a classic stage; other times they will play, for example, on an open space visible from three sides.

The repertoire of Na Bulake Theatre is highly diverse, including such plays as Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw, variations on Edward Radzinsky's "Nebo. Samolet. Devushki," a stage adaptation of Anton Chekhov's short stories, a fantasy based on the songs of Viktor Tsoy, and Golden Boys, a story of amateur strip dancers.
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The high-tech pyramid-shaped centre for culture and entertainment is new to Kazan's skyline, erected next to the Bulak in 2002 to the design of the husband-and-wife architect team of Viktor and Gulsine Tokarev. The seven-level, 31.5-metre (103-foot) tall Pyramid accommodates 2,500 visitors and 500 staff.

The main centre of gravity in the Pyramid is its 1130-seat concert space with a parterre, which can be promptly converted to a dance floor. The Pyramid hosts rock and pop acts, as well as official events, festivals (e.g. Kazan Film Festival and Tatar Zhyry pop pageant), competitions and conventions. A bar is tucked away in the recesses of the concert space, to make sure no one in the audience needs to leave the room for drinks, snacks, echpochmaki or tea. The Pyramid also houses a nightclub, health centre, café, panoramic two-level restaurant on the top floors, beauty salon, and New Century television and radio studio. Visit the Pyramid's website for upcoming concerts and other events.
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This used to be a kolkhoz theatre, created in 1933 on the initiative of the First All-Union Convention of Kolkhoz Best Workers as a branch of the Tatar National Academic Theatre.

The new theatre was the idea of playwright Karim Tinchurin, who had just finished the play Bulat Babai's Family, written in collaboration with Kavi Najmi. The newly formed company staged the play and performed it in the village of Shali, Pestrechinsky District, Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The company was originally made up by actors renowned at the time, such as Gulsum Bolgarskaya, Ibragim Shagdaleyev, Bibinur Galiullina, and others. The company has always staged foreign, as well as Russian, plays. The current repertoire of the Drama and Comedy Theatre includes plays based on the works of William Shakespeare, Federico Garcia Lorca, Erich Maria Remarque and Slawomir Mrozek. However, the core playlist consists of Tatar comedies and dramas.

The company did not have a permanent home until 1988, when it moved into a 1850 building, constructed to the design of Ksavery Skarzhinsky, and later remodelled by Fyodor Amlong. The latest restoration of the building ended in 2009. Director Rashid Zagidullin has led the company since 1993.