In 1836, the Imperial Theatre School received new premises on the even-numbered side of the New Theatrical Street (presently known as Rossi Street). The building constructed upon the project of C. Rossi was initially designed to serve as a tenement house. However, by order of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, it was handed over to the Directorate of Imperial Theatres. The rearrangement of the building to meet the needs of the Theatre School was completed by A. Сavos. Besides the arrangement of dancing-halls, sleeping-quarters and other supplementary premises, the architect was to build up an internal school theatre.
A tiny school theatre was arranged in the middle of the campus building, beside the dancing-hall on the second floor to find its place in the same part of the school premises where the female students used to reside. The stage with an orchestra was set up against the facade wall, while auditorium accommodated a small VIP area with two rows of armchairs for senior officials and special guests, and a few benches for female students. The boys were to crowd in a small gallery with a balustrade going round the house.
However, after a while it became clear that the school theatre that has divided the building right in the middle was not placed comfortably enough. In 1850-s, it was decided to move it closer to the church staircase that was consequently named the Theatrical one. Cavos was again the one who became in charge of rearrangement. That time the stage equipped with all necessary machinery was erected perpendicular to the facade wall. A gallery supported by metal consoles was constructed to surround the small house. The same way as it was previously done the orchestra was placed between the stage and the flat orchestra stalls.
School theatre in XIX century.
Since then the school theatre has never changed its place in the campus building. However, the interior design was modified. The «orchestra pit» and the gallery were removed, and the house equipped with comfortable tiered stalls. The last reconstruction of the school theatre was completed in 2010. The auditorium was supplied with modern equipment that does not only provide for new opportunities to hold dance exams at a higher level, but also allows to organize conferences, master-classes, meetings and other events. The overhead projector allows projecting various presentations and choreographic works on a large screen. Multi-coloured lighting equipment makes all the ballet performances look more expressive. Most of the events held at the school theatre are being video-recorded so that the records could be consequently kept in the school archive.
Today the school theatre bears the name of Alexander Shiryaev, the founder of the Russian school of character dance, who choreographed a great number of school performances on its stage.
The number of spectator seats – 90
Width – 10,8 m, Depth – 14 m
School theatre today.