Moscow Puppet Theatre

One of the oldest puppet theatres in Russia, this theatre was founded in 1929 by Yevgeny Vakhtangov's pupil and follower Victor Swemberger. Originally called the Children's Book Theatre, it was affiliated to Gosizdat State Publishing House. The theatre has always had close ties with Russia's leading children's authors such as Samuil Marshak, Alexandra Brustein and Yevgeny Schwartz. Since 1965, the theatre has occupied a late 19th-century building which, in 1912, was reorganized to house one of Moscow's first cinemas. From the 1930s onwards, it has been home to various theatre troupes. The theatre's heyday was in the 1950s and 1960s, when it boasted some extremely innovative directors. Here, puppet theatre and mask theatre came together for the first time in the country. In the early 2000s, the premises underwent restoration, and some fascinating directors came on the scene. Interested in experimenting, they used a wide variety of styles and methods. Today, for instance, the theatre offers a production of the "Snow Queen" (6+) with paper dolls, staged by the great Maya Krasnopolskaya, and the witty "Game of Scribbles" ("Igra v Karakuli") (6+) from the wonderful puppetmaster Yevgeny Ibragimov. The repertoire also still includes traditional productions in the somewhat old-fashioned Soviet style, yet its fame today is undoubtedly due to its children's performances in new, experimental formats. Audiences of "May Night" (12+) directed by Carolina Zernite, for instance, are blindfolded in order that they might focus on listening to voices and experiencing the wind blowing, as well as various tastes and smells. The "Theatre in Your Hand" (1+) is aimed at very young children, whilst a range of themed theatre quests take older audiences on exciting journeys round the building.

Most of the theatre's repertoire is aimed at children below the age of 10. In the foyer, the theatre offers a games room with balls and soft cubes. The audience's seats are specially designed so they can be raised, should a small child have trouble seeing the stage.