a name given in the Soviet Union to its most prominent theaters which have developed solid traditions, educated outstanding actors on the basis of these traditions, and created a widely accepted repertoire.
In 1919, after the October Revolution, the title of Academic Theater was bestowed upon six of the oldest Russian theaters: the Bol’shoi, the Malyi, and the Art Theater in Moscow and the Aleksandrinksii (now the Pushkin State Theater of Drama of Leningrad), the Mariinskii (now the Kirov State Theater of Opera and Ballet of Leningrad), and the Mikhailovskii (now the Leningrad State Malyi Theater of Opera and Ballet), in Petrograd.
During the 1920’s representatives of “leftist” art, who had rejected the significance of creative traditions and the cultural inheritance of the past, sharply attacked the academic theaters and demanded that they be closed. However, by the beginning of the 1930’s, the academic theaters had proved their right to exist and their ability to develop traditions and to reflect the new revolutionary reality in their art. Such performances as Trenev’s Liubou’ larovaia by the Malyi Theater in 1925, Vs. Ivanov’s Armored Train 14–69 by the Moscow Art Theater in 1927, and Afinogenov’s Fear by the Leningrad State Academic Theater of Drama in 1931 became Soviet theatrical classics.
Some of the theaters that have received the title Academic Theater are the Vakhtangov Theater in Moscow (1956), the Moscow Mossovet Theater (1964), the Leningrad Bol’shoi Dramatic Theater (1964), the Kamal Tatar Theater in Kazan (1927), the Ukrainian Theater of Opera and Ballet (1926) and the Franko Ukrainian Dramatic Theater in Kiev (1940), the Lysenko Ukrainian Theater of Opera and Ballet (1939) and the Shevchenko Ukrainian Dramatic Theater in Khar’kov (1947), the Kupala Byelorussian Theater in Minsk (1955), the Khamza Uzbekistan Dramatic Theater (1933), the A. Navoi Uzbekistan Theater of Opera and Ballet (1959) and the Gorky Russian Theater of Drama (1967) in Tashkent, the Latvian Theater of Drama (1949) and the Latvian Theater of Opera and Ballet in Riga (1956), the Lakhuti Tadzhik Theater of Drama in Dushanbe (1939), the Turkmen Theater of Drama in Ashkhabad (1956), and the Estonia Theater (1950) and the Kingisepp Theater of Drama (1957) in Tallin.