The Night of Museums
How shall we start the Museum Night? Let’s got to Moscow English Club, the place visited by Pushkin, Tolstoy and so many other famous Russians.
A gentlemen club appeared in Russia at the reign of Catherine the Great, first it was open for the foreigners living in St.Petersburg by an Englishman, France Gardner in 1770. The motto of the club was Consensus and Joy. In 1772 the English Club opened in Moscow, and after changing the residence several times, finally, in 1831 it got the mansion of Count Lev Razumovsky, the building on Tverskaya, 21. The lions on the facade gates are not less famous then the building itself, they were made from a drawing by the architect who had never seen an alive lion in his life.
Gradually Moscow English Club became a centre of social and political life, the members of the club were the people who had dominant influence on public opinion. The number of members increased up to 600, the money and the title didn’t guarantee the entrance to the club. Each new member had to be voted for and have the reference of two existing members of the club. If you were not accepted at the first application, there were no second chance, it gave the membership to the club high social status. The membership fee increased from 10 rubles in 1770 to 100 rubles in 1860. The privilege to meet and greet important people as Counts Jusupovs, Golitsins, Obolenskiys, the writers Pushkin, Tolstoy, Karamzin, Krylov, Octrovskiy, the Russian Army commander Kutuzov as equals was valued by the members very much. The club was famous for its cuisine, the noble families sent their chefs to learn cooking there. The last and most ceremonial banquet held in the club was the dinner to celebrate the rule of the Romanovs in Russia in 1913.
In 1922 Red Moscow exhibition opened in the former Moscow English Club mansion, and after that it became the Museum of Revolution. In 1998 the museum was renamed to the state Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia with a variety of exhibition and projects dedicated to major events of Russian history from the middle of the 19th century to nowadays.
Let’s continue our Night of Museums and go to another place. The building next to the museum is the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre. It housed a cinema place a century ago, at that time in Russia all movie houses were called electrotheatres. After the revolution it became home to a world-famous director, and it was named Konstantin Stanislavsky’s opera and drama studio, and then the Stanislavsky Drama Theatre.
In January 2015, following a major reconstruction, a new venue, the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre was opened. One of the most modern theaters in Moscow is equipped with the latest technology, the main stage is designed to present a diverse repertoire, the traditions of drama and opera are again alive in the theatre.
The theatre’s foyer is where the so-called Electrozone happens. Here a cafe, a bookshop, the wardrobe, and the stairs around them are the sites for lectures, performances, concerts of contemporary music, film screenings, exhibits, installations and performances. The educational and creative activity of the Electrozone attracts wide audience and creates the context that contemporary theatre requires.
A pleasant bonus of the night was a theatre performance Visit Of The Old Lady based on Friedrich Durrenmatt’s story of Claire who returns to her decaying hometown as a billionaire and wants revenge for her once broken heart and honour, and sets a tragic-comic experiment of moral values.
The theatre tour personally organized and guided by the Management was a complete rediscovery of the theatre, seeing the whole range of facilities it has to offer to the people of Moscow. Its unique status and artistic policy make the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre a place where a new manner of communication is coming into life. The Electrotheatre’s work reflects the essence of contemporary culture.