Theatre School (Liublino)

The two-storeyed theatre school situated close to the manor house (Palace) was the first one in a row of buildings standing along the entrance alley of the estate, namely: the theatre, the boarding house for noble children, a greenhouse and at the back – a horse yard.

The theatre school building consisted of a pair of wings ‘identical in architecture and surmounted by the towers on the top’. Some researchers think that one of them served as dwelling premises for actors and the other was used for school rooms. The wings were connected with an open gallery that echoed in architectural conception with the manor house colonnade. The façades of both wings were decorated with bas-reliefs ‘depicting dancing figures’.

During the Soviet times, the theatre school was considerably rebuilt: a two-storeyed central part was added to connect the wings. The renovated building was turned into a comprehensive school, and later on, till 2007, it was a residence of a young car enthusiasts club.

In 2010, the Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve started reconstruction of the monument. The building acquired its genuine historical appearance. Nowadays, as originally, the theatre school is located close to the manor house opening a row of monuments along the historical entrance alley, present Letnyaya Street. Today, the reconstruction of interiors has been completed and a permanent exposition as well as exhibitions welcome new visitors.

Unfortunately, little is known on the Liublino serf theatre. According to its contemporaries, it was one of twenty largest estate theatres in Russia with a troupe amounting to more than 100 actors. Miss Catherin Wilmot, an English guest at Nikolay Durasov’s manor, was amazed with the estate and its theatre saying, ‘Everything was as in a magic castle. After dinner we had a promenade, and in the evening everybody… gathered for a theatrical performance. The theatre itself and the scenery were very festive, while the actors’ performance was decent enough… There was a ballet during the intermissions between the play and the interlude’.

The performances were given twice a week. The repertory included plays by August von Kotzebue, Vasily Maikov and many other authors. Nikolay Durasov had a choir, one of the best in Russia, as well as a horn orchestra.

The theatre was supervised by famous Russian actor, writer and playwright Peter Plavilschikov (1760-1812). Theatrical skill of the Liublino serf actors reached a highest level so that many of them after they got manumissions were invited to play at the stage of Imperial Theatres in Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

After the death of Nikolay Durasov in 1818, a new history of the estate started. Its owners changed one another while the theatre ceased to exist to gain a second life as a museum almost 200 centuries afterwards.

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