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The Satire Theatre

Triumphalnaya Square, 2
3.59
What makes this theater kin with circus? And why it became the prototype of the "Variety" theater?
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On Triumphalnaya Square, between the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and the "Aquarium" garden the Satire Theater is located. The building, which is over a hundred years old, got a modern look in 1960 upon the project of the architect V. Stepanov. The blind screen facade on the right was decorated with an illuminated square panel with the inscription "The Satire Theater", on the left side of the façade planted theatrical masks were placed. The huge dome of the building testifies its age - it recalls the former famous circus of brothers Nikitin, built in 1910s by architect B. Nilus together with A. Gurzhienko.

Circus was located in the most popular amusement garden of Moscow - "Aquarium", which thundered in different years throughout the capital for its theatrical programs. "Aquarium" was attended by thousands of Muscovites to watch the performances of the big-city and touring troupes of actors, acrobats, jugglers, trained animals, to have a dinner in the restaurant with live music in the shade of old trees and gurgling fountains.

Guests could also rise over Moscow on an air-balloon, make a keepsake photograph and admire the fireworks in the evening. "Aquarium" had a reputation of a "theatrical oasis". The garden became famous for operettas of M. Lentovsky theater, ballet by Lydia Geiten, Frenchman Charles Aumont enterprise (he was the one who built the "Buff" and "Olympia" theaters), opera of Zimin theater and gypsy romances of the Blumenthal-Tamarin theatre.

In 1924 brothers Nikitin circus arena has been adapted for the first Soviet music hall, and in 1930 the building housed the Operetta Theater. In 1965 under the old dome a new hall was opened - the Satire Theater at last got a permanent residence after long process of moves.

Satire Theatre opened in 1924 by ‘semi-pop’  "Moscow from the point of view of..." performance. The first night took place in the Bolshoi Gnezdnikovsky Lane, in the hall, which was housing "The Bat" cabaret, and where today the educational theater of GITIS Academy is. At that time the performances ‘on the topic of the day’ were quickly conquering the hearts of the audience, and today still the Theater continues to gather full house.

According to one of the versions, it was the music hall in the Nikitin circus that became the prototype of the "Variety" theater of the "Master and Margarita" novel by M. Bulgakov.

Voland’s session of black magic with a subsequent exposure was held there. By the description of the interior of the theater in the novel you can guess the signs of the rebuilt circus: "Blue curtain moved on both sides and closed the cyclists, green lights with the word "exit" at the doors dimmed, and in the web of trapezes under the dome the white balls lit up as if it was the sun".

Nikitin Circus was also mentioned in the Mikhail Bulgakov "The Heart of a Dog" novel.

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