The Moscow Young Generation Theater – one of the oldest theaters of the current Russian era – began its history in 1920. It was the first in a long line of Soviet theaters given the impersonal name of TYuZ, an abbreviation for Young Spectator Theater. Over the course of its history the theater has known successes and failures, but the contrived Soviet notion of a theater created only for a young audience strictly limited the repertory and, accordingly, the creative aspirations of directors and actors. The most talented among these artists naturally aspired to freeing themselves of the notion of “children’s” theater as quickly as possible.
This changed in 1987 on the day that the theater’s new chief director Henrietta Yanovskaya unveiled the premiere of her first production at MTYuZ: Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Heart of a Dog.” It not only heralded the beginning of a new era at MTYuZ, it signified the rebirth of freedom in Russian theater at large. After many long, difficult decades, during which the best theater artists were compelled to work underground to one extent or another, Yanovskaya’s production symbolized Russian theater once again speaking freely and openly. It was a voice, thanks to triumphant tours of “The Heart of a Dog,” that was heard in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Israel and Turkey. As Henrietta Yanovskaya says, this simple “children’s” theater had now become a “theater for people.” And it became famous beyond Russia’s borders, each of its new productions invariably attracting the attention of the international theater community.
The New Generation Theater today is a theater of two directors, Henrietta Yanovskaya and Kama Ginkas, the designer Sergei Barkhin, and a talented troupe of actors.
Over the years its productions have received numerous prizes and awards.
The Russian national Golden Mask festival debuted in 1994 and every year directors, actors, designers and productions of MTYuZ have been nominated for awards.
In the category of Best Stage Design, Sergei Barkhin has received three Golden Masks – for Yanovskaya’s “Ivanov and Others,” Ginkas’s “The Black Monk” and Ginkas’s “Rothschild’s Fiddle.”
In 2003 “The Lady with the Lapdog” was named Best Small-Stage Production, Kama Ginkas – Best Director.
In 2005 “Rothschild’s Fiddle” – the world premiere of which took place in January 2004 at the Yale Repertory Theater in the United States, the Moscow premiere of which took place March 6 – was honored with a Golden Mask for Best Large-Stage Production.
In 1991 Kama Ginkas received the Moscow Critics’ Best Director Prize for “We Play ‘Crime,” based on Dostoevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment.” Ginkas received the Crystal Turandot for his production of “K.I. from ‘Crime’,” another Dostoevsky dramatization.
In the 1998-1999 season, Ginkas’s productions of “The Golden Cockerel,” based on Alexander Pushkin’s poem, and “Pushkin. Duel. Death,” based on historical documents, were winners at the Russian national “Russia – First Love…” festival.
Ginkas’s dramatization of Chekhov’s story “The Black Monk” was one of the sensations of the 1999 season. In October 2000, the show won the Grand Prix and the Critics’ Prize for Best Production at the Baltic House international theater festival in St. Petersburg. Ginkas was honored with the Seagull Best Director award and Sergei Makovetsky was named Best Male Actor for his performance as Kovrin.
In 1999 Ginkas was honored with the State Prize of Russia for the shows “K.I. from ‘Crime’,” “Execution of the Decembrists” and “Puskin. Duel. Death.” MTYuZ received three Seagull awards in 2006: Igor Yasulovich received “The Mask of Zorro” citation (for an innovative interpretation of a classical role); Ginkas was named Best Director, and Sergei Barkhin was awarded Best Designer. A fourth “Seagull” was taken by Yelena Orlova, designer for MTYuZ’s production of “The Little Green Bird.”
MTYuZ is famed for its highly talented troupe of actors, all of whom are individually gifted, but who also form a unified, harmonic ensemble. Famous actors such as Igor Yasulovich, Valery Barinov, Sergei Shakurov, Igor Gordin, Viktoria Verberg, Yulia Svezhakova, Arina Nesterova and Marina Zubanova work in the theater, as well many promising young actors – Alexei Alexeev, Andrei Finyagin, Nikolai Ivanov, Alyona Stebunova, Yelena Lyadova and others.
In Kama Ginkas’s and Henrietta Yanovskaya’s shows, actors from other theaters, such as Oksana Mysina, Era Ziganshina and Sergei Makovetsky, blend superbly into the theater’s ensemble.
In recent years the theater’s actors have received numerous prestigious awards:
The Moscow New Generation Theater frequently tours to Russian cities and participates in Russian festivals. Destinations have included St. Petersburg, Samara, Vologda, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don, Surgut, Nizhnevartovsk and other cities. Internationally the theater has participated in prestigious international festivals in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Italy, The Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, the United States and other countries.