Home>Plays>Agit-Drama, Annenkov's "The Storming of the Winter Palace"

LEFT: In 1920, Iuri Annenkov (1889-1974) designed a massive production to commemorate the third anniversary of the Bolshevik coup of 1917 (click on image). "The Storming of the Winter Palace" was directed by the famous theatrical professional Nikolai Evreinov and was subtitled a "mass action." This indeed it was, as the list of actors required for the right side of the "stage" (the production took place outdoors on the steps of and square adjacent to the former Tsarist palace in which the provisional government officers were meeting when the Bolshevik takeover occurred): 125 ballet dancers, 100 circus people, 1,750 supernumeraries and students, 200 women, preferably students, 260 secondary actors, and 150 assistants. Props included flags, tanks, armored cars, etc. Spectacles such as these were not merely designed to commemorate Soviet power. They were meant to usher in a new kind of theater, one in which the distinction between actor and spectator was broken down. For a video clip of some agit-theatre productions of the early 1920s, click here.

BELOW: Another design for this same "mass action."