Theatres and Circuses

Sergei Bobylev/TASS

The Sochi Circus opened in 1971. Despite all the renovation it has seen since then, even today visitors to the circus might feel as if they have gone for a ride in a time machine: the building still retains its atmosphere of great old Soviet circus. Designed by a group of architects headed by Yulian Schwartzbreim, the plans for the unusual round building were awarded the State Prize of the USSR. Inside, the main hall seating up to 2,000 people is surrounded by a glass gallery. Visitors can also admire the striking mosaic panels and marble floors.

The foundation stone for the building was laid by the great clown and film actor Yuri Nikulin, the main symbol and face of Soviet circus. Nikulin is not the only legendary figure to be linked with Sochi’s Circus, however: between 1992 and 2003, the circus was headed by the eminent animal trainer Mstislav Zapashny, People’s Artist of the USSR.

On performance days, a huge party for children is held in the big square with a fountain in front of the circus. Visitors can enjoy the music and a wide array of sweet treats as animators in bright costumes entertain the kids. Children can also take a ride on a horse or a pony. The circus is open all year round, with the best performances from all over the country coming to Sochi on tour. The circus does not possess its own troupe.

Artur Lebedev/TASS

Since 2004, the Avtomobilist House of Culture in the centre of Sochi has housed the "Castle on the Sand" chamber theatre. Those who work in the theatre are graduates of drama schools and colleges, as well as simple theatre lovers. Besides staging plays, the theatre also offers a drama studio. The theatre has no specific genre and puts on plays by Russian and foreign playwrights alike. The atmosphere is welcoming and homey: the actors may be amateurs, but the environment they create is always warm and inviting. Visitors may feel they have come to see old friends, with whom they can experience joy and sadness, sorrow and inspiration. Having welcomed audiences for over a decade, the theatre was granted the title of "People’s Theatre". The troupe takes part in a wide variety of festivals and tours. The theatre also frequently stages plays for charity.