... Oh, theatre! My God, my sacred burden -
A chance to live, to build, and to create.
It’s gone through centuries, through spaces, and through times
So that to run the show and rule the world...
One of the oldest theatres of Kazakhstan, the State Academic Russian Drama Theatre named after M. Gorky in Astana was established in the end of the XIX century, and it has won strong devotion of the audience for its ability to hear and to express the era, and to value the truth for already two centuries.
It’s difficult to imagine today that back in 1899, in Akmolinsk, “At the request of dramatic art lovers” the first foundation of the present capital Russian drama theatre was laid. The Town Council allocated 100 rubles, a merchant- philanthropist Kubrin allocated as much again, and long-standing love of the citizens to high art of theatrical performance, at last, acquired its official status and its home.
At first, it was only a small theatre. However, soon it became one of the leading creative groups of Kazakhstan. The theatre quickly gained popularity within and beyond Kazakhstan. For example, in 1957, the performance of “The Deep”, based on a play by Ostrovsky, was awarded at the All-Soviet Union Festival “Theatre Spring”. The Russian Drama Theatre has been named after Maxim Gorky since 1959.
The People's Artist of the Kazakh SSR Ye. Orel, Honoured Artists of the Kazakh SSR: Ye. Marussina, S. Grupp, N. Milovidkov, A. Khodayev, I. Goroshevich, N. Nazarkovskaya, A.Chervov, the Honoured Artist of Moldavia R. Svetinskaya, the Honoured Artist of the Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic D. Terentyuk, the Laureate of the State Premium of the USSR M. Kovaleva, the People’s Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan V. Arkhipenkov, the Honoured Cultural Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Holder of an Order “Kurmet” S. Prilutskaya and others, devoted themselves to the service of the great art in different years.
Such directors as T.Sergeyeva, А.Smelyakov, the Honoured Artist of the Kazakh SSR I. Sermyagin. the Honoured Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zh.Omarov, The People’s Artist of the USSR and the Republic of Kazakhstan A. Mambetov, the Honoured Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yu. Khanninga-Beknazar, as well as directors from Russia and Europe: А.Kanevskiy, V.Tykke, О.Zaryankin, L.Chigin, V.Borodin, Yu.Kokorin, Ye.Gevorkyan, J.Vaitkus and others had remarkable proficiency in whole range of the craft.
The current repertoire of the theatre represents authors and plays, included into the treasury of world and Kazakhstan dramaturgy. A great viewers’ interest generate performances “There are no strangers here...” after the play by N. Gogol, “The Master and Margarita” by M. Bulgakov, “The Viaticum” by O. Bokey, “Mixed Emotions” by R. Baer, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by T. Williams, “Hamlet”, “Romeo and Juliette” by W. Shakespeare etc. Contemporary dramaturgy is represented by N. Ptushkina, N. Sadur, I. Vyrypayev, A. Orazbekov, A. Yablonskaya.
Today the Russian Drama Theatre is headed by the Managing Director and Artistic Director the Honoured Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yerkin Kassenov, the Principal Director, the Honoured Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bekpulat Parmanov, and the Art Director, the Cultural Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kanat Makssutov.
Popular and favorite actors: Honoured Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Holder of the Order of Friendship of Russia Natalya Kossenko, the People’s Artist of Kyrgyzstan, the Cultural Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan Sergey Matveyev, the Holder of “Kurmet” Order Vladimir Ivanenko, “Madeniet salassyn uzdigi” Viktor Zhitkov, Nina Drobotova, masters of theatrical arts Zinaida Abanazidi, Natalya Matveyeva, the Cultural Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan Lyudmila Kryuchkova, Roman Chekhonadskiy, Margarita Mukhametdiyeva, Alexandr Korzhenko and Larissa Lebedeva, as well as Svetlana Fortuna, Ivan Anopchenko, Denis Annikov, Bolat Kiribayev, Igor Sedin and others perform on the stage of the theatre.
The company successfully tours many cities of Kazakhstan and Russia, participates in prestigious domestic and international theatre festivals. Among the most significant, they are the Grand Prix at the National Festival of Drama Theatres in Petropavlovsk (2001); the title of a Laureate of “Shabyt” International Festival of Creative Youth (2001, 2003 and 2004); participation in the International Festival of Russian Drama Theatres from Russia and Near-Abroad Countries in Saranks (Mordovia, 2006), following the results of which the troupe was invited to the tour in Moscow. It also took part in IX, XII and XIV “Meetings in Russia” International Festival of Russian Theatres from CIS and Baltic Countries in 2007, 2010 and 2012, where everyone was awarded a Honorary Diploma. The achievements of the theatre include: performance in the International Theatre Festival held under the framework of the World Congress, devoted to the Year of the Russian Language in Granada (Spain, 2007), where the performing artists became Laureates of the Festival; a tour to III “Eternal Shakespeare ”International Theatre Festival in Beijing (China, 2008); participation in III and IV Festival of Drama Theatres of the Northern Caucasus and the countries of the Black Sea-Caspian region in Makhachkala (The Republic of Dagestan, 2011 and 2014). Jointly with the Embassy of Hungary, the theatre implemented a unique project in Szolnok city with the performance of “Sultan Beibars” by R. Otarbayev in 2011.
Today, attracting and opening new names, the theatre forms a repertoire, striving to go with the times. However, whatever historical epoch the play addresses, it always represents thoughts about the present day, which make our life cleaner and brighter.