Workers' Youth Theatre

Workers' Youth Theatre, also known as TRAM (the Russian acronym for "Teatr RAbochey Molodyozhi") was a Soviet proletarian youth theatre of the late 1920s and early 1930s. It was established by Mikhail Sokolovsky in a converted cinema on Liteiny Prospekt, Leningrad. The theatre was run as a collective and produced agitprop pieces designed to educate and persuade. The group worked together with the Left Column, a German agitprop group active in Berlin. A number of the group moved to Moscow in 1931. Helmut Damerius led the two groups from 1931 to 1933.[1]

Adrian Piotrovsky was the theatre's principle ideologue, and Dmitri Shostakovich composed some incidental music for a number of its productions.[2] By 1930 the theatre was under attack, accused of "formalism" by its critics from among journalists and rival proletarian organizations.[3]

See also


  • Bradby, David, and John McCormick. 1978. People's Theatre. London: Croom Helm and Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 0-85664-501-X.
  • Clark, Katerina. 1995. Petersburg: Crucible of Cultural Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, repr. 1998. ISBN 0-674-66336-5.
  • Drain, Richard, ed. 1995. Twentieth-Century Theatre: A Sourcebook. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09619-7.
  • Frolova-Walker, Marina; Walker, Jonathan. Music and Soviet Power 1917-1932. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-703-9.
  • McBurney, Gerard. 2008. "Shostakovich and the theatre" from The Cambridge Companion to Shostakovich ed. Pauline Fairclough and David Fanning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139827386.
  • Rudnitsky, Konstantin. 1988. Russian and Soviet Theatre: Tradition and the Avant-Garde. Trans. Roxane Permar. Ed. Lesley Milne. London: Thames and Hudson. Rpt. as Russian and Soviet Theater, 1905-1932. New York: Abrams. ISBN 0-500-28195-5.
  • Schechter, Joel, ed. 2003. Popular Theatre: A Sourcebook. Worlds of Performance Ser. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25830-8.
  • Stourac, Richard, and Kathleen McCreery. 1986. Theatre as a Weapon: Workers' Theatre in the Soviet Union, Germany and Britain, 1917-1934. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-7100-9770-0.
  • Van Gysegheim, Andre. 1943. Theatre in Soviet Russia. London: Faber.
  • Willett, John. 1978. Art and Politics in the Weimar Period: The New Sobriety 1917-1933. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996. ISBN 0-306-80724-6.


  1. Biographical details, Helmut Damerius Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur, Retrieved December 2, 2011 (in German)
  2. Frolova-Walker & Walker, p. 373
  3. McBurney, p. 160
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