Kazan is a feast of a city. Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital. The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.
Kazan 2018 | Galiaskar Kamal Tatar National Academic TheatreTatar theatre was born on 22 December 1906, when a play in Tatar was publicly performed in Kazan for the first timeTatar theatre was born on 22 December 1906, when a play in Tatar was publicly performed in Kazan for the first time
Galiaskar Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre
Tatar theatre was born on 22 December 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 1st 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 National 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 National Academic Theatre. His plays form the core of the company’s repertoire.
Salimjanov won a 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 Hoja Nasreddin, Richard III, and contemporary Tatar plays on the company’s playbills.
Several generations of actors play at the National 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 National Academic 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.