10 best theaters in St. Petersburg

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

St. Petersburg is considered the cultural capital of Russia for a reason. It was here that the brightest and most important events that define the country's art took place. And on the territory of this city there is a huge number of cultural institutions. There are so many of them that a tourist may well get confused, trying to figure out where it is better to go.

And for those who want to enjoy really high art, we have compiled a rating of the 10 best theaters in St. Petersburg. For the selection, we used the reviews of tourists published on the corresponding city portal.

Review of the best theaters in St. Petersburg

Nomination a place Theater rating
Review of the best theaters in St. Petersburg 10 'Buff' 4.5 / 5
9 'Hermitage Theater' 4.6 / 5
8 'Leningrad Center' 4.7 / 5
7 Maly Drama Theater ('Theater of Europe') 4.7 / 5
6 'Workshop' 4.8 / 5
5 Musical comedy theater 4.8 / 5
4 Theater named after G.A.Tovstonogov (Bolshoi Drama Theater) 4.8 / 5
3 Alexandrinsky theater 5.0 / 5
2 Mikhailovsky theater 5.0 / 5
1 Mariinskii Opera House 5.0 / 5

10th place: 'Buff'

Rating: 4.5 / 5


The Buff Music and Drama Theater specializes in comedy. This is reflected not only in the name, but also in the history of the establishment. 'Buff' was originally created as a circus, but then it was turned into a theater – for which one should thank the architect N. Lvov, who designed the building in such a way that it could carry several purposes at once.

In addition to comedies in all their manifestations – from traditional buffoonery to the currently popular dramedy with a complex plot and other post-irony, children's plays, musicals, musical shows and concerts are staged in Buffa.

The Buffa structure includes two scenes. If the first is focused on classical theatrical performances, then the second is staged cabaret. Particularly popular is the production of “Extravaganza-Buff”, which can be seen only in this theater. Musical numbers, which are cover versions of famous songs of the XX century performed by the artists of 'Buffa', combined with dance numbers typical for cabaret, tell a love story in an ironic language.

The main composition of the Buffa troupe is represented by graduates of the theater workshop of Professor I. R. Shtokbant. The history of the institution has 8 generations of actors. The actual one – bearing the name 'BUFF 8' – came to the price in 2017.

9th place: 'Hermitage Theater'

Rating: 4.6 / 5

Hermitage theater

The Hermitage Theater, which is part of the Hermitage Historical and Cultural Complex, played an important role in the development of Russian art. Erected on the site of the former Winter Palace of Peter I in 1785, it has long been the venue for various balls and masquerades. In addition, it was here that representatives of the Russian nobility gave amateur performances.

At present, the stage of the Hermitage Theater is mainly staged with ballet. Performances such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and The Nutcracker are presented. In addition, from time to time the theater acts as a platform for various concerts and other events under the supervision of the Hermitage historical and cultural complex itself.

An interesting feature of the Hermitage Theater is its chamber. There are only 280 seats for spectators, and they are not numbered. Any free chairs are supposed to be occupied. Also on the ground floor of the 'Hermitage Theater' there is a permanent museum exposition, which reproduces the interior and decoration of the very Winter Palace of Peter I.

8th place: 'Leningrad-Center'

Rating: 4.7 / 5

Leningrad Center

Leningrad Center, as the name implies, is not just a theater. This is a cultural and entertainment center that combines several types of programs and performances at once. So, in addition to theatrical performances, show programs, various exhibitions, film screenings and much, much more are demonstrated here.

The performances that are given in this cultural center go beyond one specific genre. For example, on the small stage of the chamber format, performances of 'Literature Lessons' are held with the reading of classical works accompanied by live musical accompaniment, and the provocative performances of LOVESICK, which are a courtesy show.

The large stage is used not only for theatrical performances in which young and very ambitious actors take part. It also shows films – and the repertoire is significantly different from traditional cinemas. Here you can see arthouse tapes. In addition, iconic performances and operas from the world's largest stages are broadcast here. Film screenings are produced in collaboration with fashion brands, well-known directors and artists.

In addition, the building of the 'Leningrad Center' houses an exhibition gallery and a meat restaurant from the famous Russian restaurateur Alexander Rappoport.

7th place: Maly Drama Theater ('Theater of Europe')

Rating: 4.7 / 5

Maly Drama Theater

Maly Drama Theater (MDT) during its existence has significantly influenced Russian culture and spread it all over the world. But his story is much more interesting than just the repertoire.

The fact is that MDT was opened in 1944. At this time, Leningrad itself was under occupation, and most of the theater troupes were evacuated. The actors and directors who remained in the besieged city independently opened the theater to give performances to the residents. Later, MDT 'thundered' all over the world – in 1984, the play 'Brothers and Sisters' based on the cult work of F. Abramov was staged here for the first time. The production has been shown in a huge number of countries, including the USA and Japan, and has won numerous awards.

Today, the MDT is run by Lev Dodin, one of the most famous theater directors in the world. His performances have gained popularity not only in Russia. For example, the production of 'Stars in the Morning Sky', which has been staged at this stage again since 2016, is the winner of the British Prize. L. Olivier. And Gaudeamus, present in the repertoire since 2014, received the Italian UBU Prize, the State Prize of Russia and a prize from the French Guild of Critics.

Today the theater's repertoire includes dozens of performances. Moreover, they are performances based on not only Russian but also foreign classics. For example, 'Lord of the Flies' based on the work of the same name by W. Golding is especially popular.

6th place: 'Workshop'

Rating: 4.8 / 5


'Masterskaya' is perhaps the youngest theater in St. Petersburg in the ranking. It was opened in 2010. But, unlike other venues that began operating in the 00s, it offers a troupe of professional actors. The artistic director of the theater is G.M. Kozlov, professor at SPbGATI and holder of many state awards for activities in the field of culture and art.

The history of the 'Workshop' also begins at SPbGATI. Graduates of 2010, who rallied during their studies, decided not to wander around the sites of the country, but to open their own theater. So the 'Workshop' was born, and the teacher of these students became their artistic director.

And then the theater troupe went to the festivals. She took part in a huge number of events and activities taking place both in Russia and abroad. In addition, a repertoire began to grow, which is based on both classical works and quite modern ones. For example, here you can see the performances of 'Dovlatov P.P.S', 'The Master and Margarita', 'Last Summer in Chulimsk', 'The Space Odyssey of Major Pronin', even 'Moscow-Petushki' and so on.

The 'Workshop' also actively gives performances for children. For example, in the current repertoire at the time of compilation of the rating there are such productions as 'The Wizard of the Emerald City', 'Winnie the Pooh and all, all, all', 'Cat's House'.

Before taking the children to the performances of the young spectator, it is worth considering that the 'Workshop' is very creatively reworking classical works. So in the 'Cat's House' you can see the play of light, and the theater of shadows, and very unusual costumes. In general, parents will not get bored either.

5th place: Theater of Musical Comedy

Rating: 4.8 / 5

Musical comedy theater

The Musical Comedy Theater is one of the most popular drama institutions in St. Petersburg among tourists. And this is due not only to the repertoire. The theater itself is located in one of the historical centers of the city, where there are many beautiful buildings erected by the architect Carlo of Russia.

In addition, the Musical Comedy Theater worked even during the blockade. All 900 days the troupe of actors performed with unprecedented courage. And in 2019, the Theater celebrated its 90th anniversary, expanding its repertoire and giving several performances-concerts timed to coincide with the anniversary.

Today, the main part of the institution's repertoire is made up of musicals staged by the talented artistic director Yuri Schwatskopf. In addition, on this stage you can see and hear musical performances based on famous Broadway productions, children's plays, operettas and concerts.

On the small stage of the Musical Comedy Theater, more classical performances are given. Here you can watch various dramas, tragicomedies and other traditional performances.

4th place: Theater named after G.A.Tovstonogov (Bolshoi Drama Theater)

Rating: 4.8 / 5

Theater named after G. A. Tovstonogov

The Bolshoi Drama Theater (BDT) is one of the leaders of the Russian movement in the avant-garde direction of the performing arts. For this it is worth to thank, first of all, the artistic director A. A. Blok, who headed the institution in 2013 and completely reassembled the troupe. So, among the actors of the BDT, you can find people suffering from mental disorders on the autism spectrum – and their performance is really impressive.

On the BDT site, the most unusual theatrical projects are regularly implemented, fully describing the modern approach to art. For example, the Plywood Theater program is an architectural installation in the spirit of Suprematism, in which individual performances are given. The creators themselves call it 'going beyond the boundaries of common sense', combining acting and playing with space. And the 'Coursework' project helps aspiring artists to prove themselves – the BDT acts as a stage for one-act performances staged by the students of the director A. Moguchy.

The repertoire of the BDT includes several dozen performances – and they were staged not only by A.A. Blok, but also by other directors. The main genre of performances is, of course, drama. However, comedy can also be seen on the additional stage.

3rd place: Alexandrinsky Theater

Rating: 5.0 / 5

Alexandrinsky theater

The Alexandrinsky Theater, colloquially called 'Alexandrinka', is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Russia. It was discovered during the time of Nicholas I (1796-1855). The emperor built it for his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, in whose honor the institution got its name. And until 1917 it was he who was the main imperial theater.

Over the past centuries, the theater building has been reconstructed several times. The last re-creation ended in 2013 – and thanks to him, a new stage appeared in the Alexandrinka. She has significantly expanded the institution's repertoire, complementing the classical performances with modern technologies. Therefore, now on the territory of the Alexandrinsky Theater there is also a media center, where various meetings, press conferences, master classes and other events are held.

In addition, the building of the Alexandrinsky Theater has a unique cultural space – the Roof. Various meetings, concerts, poetry evenings and film screenings are held on this site.

The repertoire of 'Alexandrinka' includes several dozen performances from the greatest directors of our time. But it's worth considering that they don't hesitate to experiment with genres and formats. On the stage, you can see a production of Mayakovsky's Bath, a modern reworking of Hamlet, futuristic operas and solo performances.

2nd place: Mikhailovsky Theater

Rating: 5.0 / 5

Mikhailovsky theater

The Mikhailovsky Theater is one of the most famous drama institutions in Russia. Thanks to its enormous history (opened in 1833), it significantly influenced the formation of Russian art. Among the visitors of the Mikhailovsky Theater are the largest cultural activities of the country. The performances were enjoyed by A.S. Pushkin, L.N. Tolstoy, P.I.Tchaikovsky and other creators whose names are inextricably linked with the history of Russia.

The newest history of this musical theater began in 2013. It was then that the ballet troupe was headed by Nacho Duato, and Alexander Vedernikov became the artistic director and chief conductor. It was then that the Mikhailovsky Theater regained the glory of the most high-profile musical theater in St. Petersburg. Today at the performances you can meet representatives of the country's beau monde.

The repertoire of the Mikhailovsky Theater includes musical performances of various genres – opera, ballet, lyric scenes. In addition to classical productions, there are also highly contemporary works of art. For example, in the one-act ballet program 'Nunc Dimittis' you can find elements of aerial acrobatics; production of 'Mozart. Figaro's wedding is full of oriental motives and a very unexpected approach; and the opera 'Jewess' is incredibly effective, performed in French (with subtitles) and tells about the impersonality of a person in front of the state machine.

1st place: Mariinsky Theater

Rating: 5.0 / 5

Mariinskii Opera House

The State Academic Mariinsky Theater is one of the largest and leading cultural institutions not only in Russia, but in the world as a whole. It was from his stage that the most famous actresses, actors and ballerinas left. For example, opera singer Anna Netrebko started her career here, and she is currently performing all over the world, including Japan and the USA.

Today the Mariinsky Theater is the largest drama institution in the country. In addition to several halls directly in St. Petersburg, it has a Far Eastern branch and two North Caucasian divisions.

Music concerts, opera performances, ballet, fairy tales are given here. They host festivals, educational and cultural events, music evenings and much, much more. Every day the Mariinsky Theater serves as a stage for several performances.

Also, the Mariinsky is a fairly modern theater. It hosts online broadcasts of various productions in two formats – video and audio. Therefore, in order to enjoy the incredible skill of actors and artists, in some cases it is not even necessary to purchase a ticket – records of many events are publicly available on the official website.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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