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New Exposition “The Twenties: New Theatre and New Library” opened in RSAL’s Readers Museum

On 27 February 2019, the 10th exposition of the Readers Museum opened at the Russian State Art Library . The goal of the exhibition “The Twenties: New Theatre and New Library” is to show the most interesting period in the development of the dramatic arts, the era of innovative research and artistic experimentation, where an important role was played by the new theatrical library.

The exposition was opened by the Director of RSAL Ada Kolganova. She noted that from the very beginning, 1922, the library was conceived of as an unusual creative laboratory. Through the extant materials in the collections, the exhibition presents how the ideas of productions and the scenographic decisions, the artists created costumes for performances, and the actors worked on their roles.

In his speech Vladislav Ivanov, PhD in art history, stated that the era of the 1920s was an important period in the development of Soviet theatre. According to Ivanov, it was a time when everything was born from extremes that were alien to the imperial theatres. The theatrical “weather” of those years was set by Vsevolod Meyerhold, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Alexander Tairov, and many others.

Grandiose areal and constructivist stagings, agitprop brigades, amateur drama studios, conceived but unrealised performances are all distinctive features of the theatrical life of the tumultuous Twenties.

Library specialists managed to preserve evidence of the bold experiments. The artists who worked here passed their work on to the library, theatres gave photographs of productions, and theatre critics provided academic works, thus forming the most valuable collection of today's Russian State Art Library, which still remains a creative laboratory for theatre workers. In the Twenties, the readers of the Theatre Library were those who determined the development of performing arts: Konstantin Stanislavsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Alexander Tairov, Yuri Zavadsky, and many others.

Unique materials: archival documents, sketches, photographs, posters, books, reviews of performances, and reader requests were presented by RSAL at the exhibition.

At the end of the evening, a meeting was held with the Art Director of the Hermitage Theatre, Mikhail Levitin, who presented his new book for the first time.