The history of the POLENOVO Theater started with a in-house production of Polenovs’ children in 1910. In 1913, this performance was staged at the school in Strakhovo village. The children were actors,  they did costume designs, and the artist himself was a stage designer.

Ever since, during each school holidays the new events were orgaised in the estate. It was smart and splendor actions, dozens of guests came even from Tarusa.

Home stage of Polenovs’ family
© Vasily Polenov  museum-reserve

Young actors in the play “Ghosts of Ellada”
© Vasily Polenov Museum-Reserve

The influence of the Polenovs’ lifestyle affected the cultural life of the surrounding villages. In 1918, a rural theater was created in the estate. It was not a theater for peasants, it was a theater where kids from the villages took part as actors. Polenov’s daughters were in charge of these productions: their artistic nature, love for arts and theater changed the life of the estate

All these traditions are kept alive and theatre remains to be one of our key activities. There are annual  performances by the amateur actors “On the Lawn” and traditional August feast staged by our home balagan “Cock and Hen” troupe balagan. “Theater of the New Year Holiday” is  one of the brightest family events took place at the Big House around the New Year and Christmas Eve – a performance in the style of the Polenov family, with fairy tales and gifts for everyone.

In the coming years we plan to organise the special programme at the new branch in Moscow – Theatre House in Zoologicheskaya street.

This is the last artistic and social project of the artist Vasily Polenov was the foundation of the House of Theatre Education in Moscow in 1913. It was an amazing educational project for rural, school and factory theatres as the learning tool, and that Polenov’s idea is still relevant and appreciated.

The house was almost demolished after the October Revolution, but the main floors remained. In October, 2020 it became a branch of the V.D. Polenov State Museum-Reserve.

To find out more about Vassily Polenov and his role in art education and public theatre, please, read:


A renowned painter, who also tried his hand at architecture, music, theatre design and teaching, the range of Vasily Polenov’s artistic talents was rich and varied. All of those forms of art would come together in his work at the “Association for Furthering the Development of Rural, Factory and School Theatres”, an involvement that, no less importantly, was closely linked to his concerns as a public figure for the development of Russian society.