Central State Academic Puppet theatre named after Sergey Obraztsov

Nikolay Galkin/ТАSS
Founded in 1931 by the outstanding puppeteer and director Sergey Obraztsov, this is Russia's most famous puppet theatre. In Soviet times it was the most popular Russian theatre abroad, with tickets for its tour performances vying in demand with those of the Bolshoi Theatre. After Obraztsov's death the theatre experienced a lengthy crisis, relying on its former glory and old productions. Even today the repertoire still contains several plays that have been performed for decades. Such are "By the Will of the Pike" ("Po Schuchyemu Veleniyu") (1936), "Aladdin's Magic Lamp" ("Volshebnaya Lampa Aladdina") (1940), "An Extraordinary Concert" (Neobyknovenny Kontsert") (1946) and "The Divine Comedy" ("Bozhestvennaya Komediya") (1961). Whilst the old productions undoubtedly possess historical value, children may find the plays staged in the last five years more stimulating. Among these are "The Snowman" ("Snegovik") (8+) from the young director Boris Konstantinov, who now heads the theatre, or "Old Sir and..." ("Stary Sinior and...") (12+) from the wonderful puppeteer and director Victor Nikonenko. Awarded Golden Masks, these productions put the Obraztsov Theatre back on the map. Children are also bound to like "A Puppy Went for a Walk" ("Gulial po Ulitse Schenok") (6+), "The Big Adventure: Dragons, Demons and Heroes” ("Bolshoye Puteshestviye: Drakony, Demony, Geroi") (6+), "The Blue Bird" ("Sinyaya Ptitsa") (6+), "A Certain Nose" ("Nekto Nos") (12+) and other productions created after 2010.

Extra bonus points with this theatre are its puppet museum in the foyer, open before performances and in the interval, as well as the theatre's famous clock that strikes at midday. At this time, the mechanical puppets on the theatre's facade give a little concert as the doors of their houses open, music plays, animals venture out of their homes and begin to dance, beating drums, playing pipes and generally having fun.