Moscow Art Theatre

Moscow, Russia

Moscow Art Theatre


The Moscow Art Theatre (or MAT; Russian: Московский Художественный академический театр (МХАТ), Moskovskiy Hudojestvenny Akademicheskiy Teatr (МHАТ)) is a theatre company in Moscow. It was founded in 1898 by the seminal Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski, together with the playwright and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. It was conceived as a venue for naturalistic theatre, in contrast to the melodramas that were Russia's dominant form of theatre at the time. The theatre, the first to regularly put on shows implementing Stanislavski's system, proved hugely influential in the acting world and in the development of modern American theatre and drama.

At the end of the 19th-century, Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko both wanted to reform Russian theatre to high-quality art that was available to the general public. They set about creating a private theatre over which they had total control (as opposed to trying to reform the government-operated Maly Theatre, a move which would have given them far less artistic freedom). On 22 June 1897, the two men met for the first time at the Slavyanski Bazar for a lunch that started at 2 PM and did not end until 8 AM the next morning. While Stanislavski’s approach to theatre revolved around the acting process, Nemirovich was far more concerned with the literary, intellectual angle.

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