Okhlopkov Theater in Irkutsk

Published: March 26, 2017

The Okhlopkov Theater in Irkutsk (or the Irkutsk Academic Dramatic Theater named for Okhlopkov) is the main dramatic theater in Irkutsk, and the oldest theater in Eastern Siberia. The theater’s directors are understandably proud of their long heritage, as well as their current efforts to promote and develop culture in Irkutsk.

Okhlopkov Theater
Okhlopkov Theater – historic entrance

Theater is really popular in Irkutsk—it is the cultural capital of Siberia, after all!—and tickets sell out fast; you’ll have to book about a month in advance to be sure you’ll get the tickets you want. It’s a repertoire theater, though, so shows cycle in and out, and you’ll always be able to find something good.

I attended Retro with my fellow SRASers this past week, and was pretty delighted. The theater itself is ridiculously beautiful, inside and out—I’ve heard it’s partially modeled after the Bolshoi Teatr in Moscow, but the one in Irkutsk is much more colorful. If you sit in the second level or higher, and you go with enough people, you’ll get a little box to yourself (they’re called ложа, a word I did not know in either English or Russian, and the woman who took our tickets thought we were idiots because we couldn’t figure out where to go—just to warn you). Anyway, it worked out in the end and I felt very much like a tsaritsa in the theater box, despite my jeans.

Okhlopkov Theater
The set for Retro at the Okhlopkov Theater

I almost feel like attending the theater in Irkutsk is mandatory, no matter what the play is—I did like what we saw, and understood a pretty good amount (though there’s nothing like the entire theater around you laughing and you having no idea why)—but just being there, listening to the language in a beautiful place, is definitely a worthwhile experience.

Okhlopkov Theater
Interior of the Okhlopkov Theater

Okhlopkov Theater
(Иркутский академический драматический театр им. Н.П.Охлопкова)
ul. Karla Marksa 14
Tickets from 100 to 500 rubles

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