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  Kazan - the City of Theatres.

  The dramatic art in Kazan has long traditions.
  First amateur dramatic experiences, that served later as the base for establishing the professional theatre in Kazan, were connected with the Tatar gymnasium, around which democratic intelligentsia of the city - people of artistic taste - grouped. For example, in 1760 Molier's 'Husbands' School' was staged there. The director of the Kazan gymnasium M.Verevkin reported to the curator of the Moscow University, who supervised the gymnasium then: 'Molier is known in Tataria too, dear sir... Here is, by God, such a theatre, that you could hardly desire anything better...'
  The constant theatre appeared in 1791, and in 1804 on the Kuznechnaya Square (today there is the Kazan Opera and Ballet Theatre) a spacious wooden building with columns was built for it. In 1825 a stone building was built, where since 1845 opera had been staged. In 1845 a theatre company divided in two separate troupes, for one of which in 1906-1910 a separate building was built - today it is a building of the Kazan State V.I. Kachalov's Academic Russian Big Dramatic Theater. A.P. Lensky, V.N. Davidov, K.A. Varlamov, P.A. Strepetova, M.G. Savina, M.S. Schepkin performed on its stage. In the second half of the 19th century the Kazan Theatre was the best provincial theatre in Russia.
  15-year-old Fedor Shalyapin made his 'debute' on the stage of Kachalov's theatre in the play 'Roge the Gendarme'. He was so nervous that couldn't utter a word, so the performance had to be abolished. Later, recollecting his first 'performance' in Kazan theatre, Fedor Ivanovich called it the beginning of his dramatic career.
  A.M. Gorky appeared on Kazan stage too. In 1885 he sang in a choir in several performances.
  Since 1949 the Big Dramatic Theatre has borne the name of V.I. Kachalov. In Kazan V.I. Kachalov worked in 1897-1900 - first, that was small parts, then more and more important ones. Playing the role of Cassius ('Julius Caesar') was a great Kachalov's success. In 1900 V.I. Kachalov was invited to Moscow Artistic Theatre (MHAT).
  Creation of the national Tatar theatre fell at the beginning of the 20th century - the time of waking up of the Tatar democratic culture. On December 22, 1906 the first public performance in the Tatar language took place. The plays 'The Pitiful Child 'and 'The Sorrow of Love'. At that time only man could play roles. One of the first women, who dared break the strict laws of Shariate and step on the theatre stage, was S. Gizatullina-Volzhskaya. The Tatar classical poet Gabdulla Tukai called her 'the sun of the Tatar stage'.
  In the Autumn of 1908 the first Tatar theatre company 'Sayar' formed. It was constituted of such gifted actors as I.Kudashov, G. Kareev, S. Gizatullina-Volzhskaya and others. An important role in creation of the theatre, the determination of its main direction played the outstanding representatives of the national intelligentsia - the poet G. Tukai, the dramatist G. Kamal. In the very beginning of its activity the theatre managed to stage the works of Russian and foreign classic authors - plays by N. Gogol, A. Chekhov, M. Gorky, A. Ostrovsky, W. Shakespeare, F. Sheller and others.
  The first State Kazan Theatre was established in 1920. At the end of 1918 the first pair National Soviet Dramatic Studio was opened, and in 1922 - the theatre school, which prepared professional actors for the Tatar stage. During those years the repertoire of the theatre was enriched with the works by the first Tatar playwrights - G. Kamal, Sh. Kamal, M. Faizy, K. Tinchurin. The plays by Tazzy Gyzzat, Sharif Kamal, Khadi Taktash were a success in those years. The actor's skill of such actors as G. Bolgarskaya, F. Ilskaya, H. Urazicov, H. Abzhlilov, Z. Sultanov flourished an that time.
  Since then the new names of gifted actors, directors and playwrights have appeared in the dramatic art of Tatarstan.
  Today there are 12 theatres in the Republic of Tatarstan, 7 of which are located in the capital of the Republic - Kazan. There are two theatre educational establishments in Kazan, where the would-be actors and directors are taught - the Kazan Theatre School and the Kazan State Academy of Culture and Arts. Numerous Russian and world tours prove the high level of the Tatarstan theatre companies' art.

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