The Meyerhold Center (officially the State Budgetary Institution of Culture of the City of Moscow Vsevolod Meyerhold Theater and Cultural Center) is a Moscow theater center founded in 1991 on the initiative of the Vsevolod Meyerhold Creative Heritage Commission and its chairman, director Valery Fokin. From 1991 to 2001, the Meyerhold Center presented its projects at third‑party venues. With the opening of its own building at 23 Novoslobodskaya Street, Moscow in 2001, Fokin defined the Center as a platform for exploration in the field of theater and for career development for young directors.
After director Viktor Ryzhakov became Head of the Center in 2013, it began positioning itself as a state platform for independent theater companies, where “the past and present are critically considered and the future is being projected.” Ryzhakov's team saw one of its main tasks as being the development of an environment that allowed free exchange of knowledge and experience between authors and viewers. More than fifty residents, including non‑state companies and festivals such as the National Festival, the Golden Mask Awards, the TSEH Dance Theater Festival, the NET New European Theater Festival, and the Territoria International School‑Festival have worked at the Meyerhold Center. It also hosted the interdisciplinary laboratory BlackBox, which resulted in a number of productions, and its own summer festivals, including New Drama, Noname, and others. Viewers were offered an extensive program of thematic clubs, discussions of performances, lectures, and talks. The Center organized its main institutional events to mark Vsevolod Meyerhold’s birthday‑performances created as a dialogue between contemporary artists and representatives of the historical avant‑garde.
The mission of the Meyerhold Center is defined as follows: “Our principle is respect for the individual and the equality of people regardless of sex, gender, national identity, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, appearance or wealth. We apply the principles of respect, equality, and diversity in our work with residents, between ourselves, and in relations with the audience.”
The directors Valery Fokin, Viktor Ryzhakov, and Dmitry Volkostrelov and theater critics Pavel Rudnev and Elena Kovalskaya headed the Meyerhold Center at various times.
On February 24, 2022, Elena Kovalskaya resigned as Head of the Center, making a public statement about her resignation and her disagreement with the decision to launch a special military operation. On March 1, 2022, the Department of Culture of the city of Moscow removed the Artistic Director of the Center, Dmitry Volkostrelov, from his post and announced the merger of the Meyerhold Center with Moscow’s School of Dramatic Arts theater “due to the termination of employment of the leadership of the Center.”
The Meyerhold Center archive contains documents related to its operation during the 2010s, including posters, booklets, flyers, invitation cards, and other ephemera handed over by Elena Kovalskaya and her team. We plan to develop the collection using other sources.