In 2022, the Russian State Art Library (RSAL) turns 100 years old.
The early 1920s were also marked by the opening of theatres that are famous today, such as the Mossovet State Academic Theatre, the Vakhtangov Theatre, the Russian Academic Youth Theatre, and the Mayakovsky Moscow Academic Theatre.
The difficult fate of these theatres is closely intertwined with the history of the library, which has become one of the primary consultants and a creative laboratory for creating outstanding works in the theatre arts.
In RSAL, directors, actors, and set and costume designers came to work on new performances, as they came to the homes of close friends. In the library, which had no analogue at the time, they received the necessary information about a play, its characters, and the time and place of the setting. Books and visual materials, collections of lithographed plays, engravings, original graphics, reproductions, fashion magazines, postcards, views of cities and interiors, photographs of famous and unknown people of various nationalities, estates, and collections of fabric samples have been assembled here….
The jubilee exposition of the Readers Museum dedicated to the 100th anniversary of RSAL ‘Centennial Co-authorship: RSAL and Theatres of the Same Age’ introduces performances in which library specialists participated.
Opening the exhibition, RSAL Director Ada Kolganova recalled the uniqueness of the Readers Museum project, which presents the history of the library through the work of famous readers: directors, actors, artists, and playwrights. She also noted that for the first time the exhibition showcases costumes from the legendary performance of the Russian Academic Youth Theatre Coast of Utopia and a technological album reflecting the creative work of the famous costume designer Olga Polikarpova, who came to RSAL as a student.
Stanislav Benediktov, the chief artist of the Russian Academic Youth Theatre, who has been a reader of the library for many years, noted the special atmosphere of the library as a centre of culture and creativity, which still attracts many famous artists.
The People’s Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, leading actress of the State Academic Vakhtangov Theatre Irina Kupchenko emphasised that the great merit of the library is that its materials preserve for future generations the impressions of contemporaries about the legendary performances that have gone down in the annals of theatre, the art of the actors admired by audiences.
Director of the Turgenev Library-Reading Room Romuald Krylov-Iodko said that a centenary anniversary is a time for summing up, an occasion to turn the pages of history of the famous ‘Teatralka’, which he considers one of the top libraries in Russia.
Director of the Russian Academic Youth Theatre Sofya Apfelbaum presented to RSAL her gift of commemorative editions about the theatre, which also recently celebrated its centenary anniversary.
Guests were able to become acquainted with exhibition displays, including such unique documents as readers’ applications for the selection of literature and visual material by famous actors and directors, and the sketches of outstanding production and costume designers who worked in the library.
Sets of postcards specially prepared for the exhibition became commemorative gifts for guests of the vernissage.
The exhibition of the Readers Museum ‘Centenary Co-authorship: RSAL and Peer Theatres’ will run throughout the year.