Playbills and Programmes Department
Playbills and programmes are the particular evidences of the history of the theatre. A contemporary spectator is accustomed to treat them like a practical and useful convenience and doesn’t usually notice the information and the sense that they have. However, a researcher or just an attentive observer can learn from it much useful and interesting knowledge.
Thus, the announcements about the performances of the Petrovsky Theatre and Znamenka Theatre, relating to the end of the XVIII century and perfectly saved until today, provide an indication about the theatrical advertisement, the changement of repertoire and the theatrical stages of that time. For the purpose of attracting the audience, they often demonstrated the details of the performance, the changement of decorations, the application of machines that can show the level of theatrical technique of the time.
Playbills and Programmes Department is the biggest collection of the museum, it consists of 600 thousand units. Playbills of the Imperial and private theatre collected by the founder of the museum, Alexey Alexandrovich Bakhrushin, form its basis. This material is related to the names of the greatest theatrical figures: M.S. Shchepkin, M.S. Mochalov, K.S. Stanislavsky, A.Y. Tairov, M.N. Yermolova, F.I. Chaliapin, L.V. Sobinov and many others.
Museum possesses the unique in our country collection of the playbills of pre-revolutionary province. It is unique in every aspect, including the quantity /more than 300 thousand units/, the geography /it represents all theatrical Russia of the late XIX century and the early XX century from Arkhangelsk to Tiflis, from Brest-Litovsk to Vladivostok/, the content and the art.
Theatrical playbill of the pre-revolutionary province is a sample of high polygraphic mastery. Skilful use of a large number of the prints of different patterns makes its playbills extremely beautiful, decoratively rich and emotional.
Jewels of the playbills fund are the playbills and the programmes made by such famous masters, like A.Y. Golovin, I.Y. Bilibin, L.S. Bakst, K.A. Somov, S.Y. Sudeykin, A.M. and V.M. Vasnetsovs, B.V. Zvorykin, I. Bondarenko and others. They represent the imperial and amateur theatres, drama and musical performances, masquerades, benefit concerts.
Rarest materials of 1920’s are represented by the theatre “Blue Blouse” with the works of the Russian avant-garde artists. There are grotesque and constructive works of G.A. and V.A. Stenberg brothers, posters of N.I. Altman and V.M. Khodasevich and bright works of Y.P. Annenkov. Samples of typographical posters are remarkable by the combination of the contrast size of letters, which creates the corresponding rhythm and architectonics /Vs. Meyerhold Theatre/.
Name of Nikolay Pavlovich Akimov, director and artist, holds a special place in the history of Russian poster /and in the museum’s collection/. Any of his playbills may serve as an example for the following generations of the artists. His posters don’t just invite to a performance, but tell about its idea in a picturesque and concise form. They attract with their decorative effect and expressiveness of forms and, according to master, are “the first herald of the art of theatre”. N.P. Akimov’s works had a significant impact on the further development of the art of poster as a unique genre in graphic arts.
Playbills from the archives of the greatest figures of Russian theatre form a separate part of the fund.
Director of the Playbills and Programmes Department: Kseniya Valentinovna Lapina.
Tel.: +7 /495/ 959-20-83