Theatres and circuses

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Upsala Circus is the world’s most uplifting circus. The shows are performed by children from dysfunctional families and children with health problems. They perform as clowns, jugglers, acrobats and strongmen. Even the animals are portrayed by young actors. The children are trained by enthusiastic adult volunteers. The shows take place in a real big top. In the summer, the young circus performers and their friends hold weekend picnics, concerts, and Hedonism and Hooligan days for visitors in the big green courtyard. Guests are treated to cocoa and pastries in summer, while in the winter they are given Mandarin oranges, whose aroma makes the Christmas shows especially magical.
Anatoly Medved/TASS
Since the new artistic director Ruslan Kudashov arrived ten years ago, the Puppet Theatre’s shows have all been very unusual. The funny Bogey Man (Barmaley) is all about playing with shadows. The touching Little Prince has some simple, but very moving special effects. Twelve Months is a story about Zodiac signs that turn into various characters, such as step-dancing frogs or frosty little acrobats. The result is always a real circus performance, but with puppets. There are plenty of shows for teenagers and adults as well, based on the works of various Russian writers.

Ticket office closes an hour later on evening performance nights.
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This small, almost private puppet theatre is run by Anna Viktorova, a former student of Georgian director and artist Rezo Gabriadze. The space has a capacity of no more than 30 people. The shows are different and not all of them are suitable for children, but they are always highly unconventional. Guests are offered tea and candy.
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The unique wooden structure constructed in 1827 by architect S. Shustov in just 40 days. In this summer theater, performances (mainly balet) were given for the Imperial family and high-ranking neighbors.

A tour performance of “Theatre for Kids” is usually presented on the Bolshoi Drama Theatre’s second stage - the Kamenoovstrovsky Wooden Theatre - during school holidays. Children sit in the stalls together with their parents. They learn how the first wooden theatre was built on this spot in just 40 days and how Tsar Nicholas I, who was on holiday not far from here, would come to the theatre every day. He would watch the stage hands light the lamp oil before the play began and would loudly comment on the actors’ performances. Parents are then taken to the saloon for a lecture on theatrical St. Petersburg in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, while the children go on a tour of the theatre. They are shown the stage machinery and the curtain, given a chance to operate the lights and microphones, and taken through various backstage workshops. At the end of the tour, the children visit the actors’ dressing rooms where they are allowed to touch anything they want and even put on some stage makeup. The evening culminates in a five-minute emotional silent performance given by the children for their parents.

The theatre was built by Carlo Rossi and named in honour of Alexandra Fedorovna, the wife of Nicholas I. In the 20th century, it acquired the unofficial name of “directors’ Mecca” as many great stage directors, including Vsevolod Meyerhold, Sergei Radlov, Nikolai Akimov, Grigory Kozintsev, Georgy Tovstonogov and Igor Gorbachev, used to work with this stage. Today the theatre’s artistic director is Valery Fokin. The audience and critics respect his desire to add original interpretations of the classics to the theatre’s repertoire, and like the fact that he invites stage managers and theatre companies from abroad, as happened with the Comédie Française.

Ticket offices: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.