The Puppet Theatre “The Golden Key,” located on the territory of the closed administrative-territorial entity Zheleznogorsk city, in Krasnoyarsk Territory, was founded on September 1, 1965. Three months later, on December 8, the first theater season opened with a performance of “The Scarlet Flower” by L. Brausevich. Every year the theater has more than 280 performances that are attended by more than 20,000 viewers – both in-house and also on the road, on tours. The main age group is children 3 to 12 years of age, but in the repertoire of the theater there are also plays for kids from the age of 1.5, as well as for teenagers and adults. Typically, at least 4 new productions come out every season. The repertoire of the theater has 40 plays based on the works of international children's classics, as well as on the works of contemporary authors. The creative accoutrement of the theater features rod-puppets, glove-puppets, flat, mechanized and jigging puppets, and marionettes, in other words – all existing major puppet systems.
The theater has an extensive experience of working with directors of different levels. Over the years the performances of “The Golden Key” were directed by such talented directors as Alexander Kovalev, Viktoria Smirnova, Vladimir Senkov, Savely Uralov, Nikolay Tikhonyuk, Lev Mitrofanov, Evgeniy Permyakov, Vladimir Popov, Gennadiy Nefedov, Igor Shishkin, Marx Koifman, Yuri Fridman, Yuri Samoilov, Yuri Utkin, Rein Agur, Dmitry Sarvin and many others.
The Municipal state-funded cultural establishment the Puppet Theatre “The Golden Key” organizes a number of cultural events, including exhibitions of works by schoolchildren and preschool children of Zheleznogorsk, organizes exhibitions of theater puppets, various competitions, as well as themed weeks dedicated to various events in the life of the city and the country. The theater arranges more than ten projects for different segments of the population: the competition for the media “People and dolls”, “The most theatrical class”, “The most theatrical family”, the competition of drawings “Theatre through the eyes of children” and others. One of the biggest projects is called “Theatre and children.” It is a city competition that brings together the gifted children of Zheleznogorsk. The objective of the competition is to create the environment for free artistic expression of children and get them exposed to the art of puppetry.
The Puppet Theatre has repeatedly become a laureate and a winner of various regional Russian, trans-regional and international festivals, a laureate and a winner of 17 Crystal masks in different categories at the annual regional festival “Krasnoyarsk - theater capital of the region” and “Theatre spring.”
In 2010, the Puppet Theatre “The Golden Key” held the 5th Trans-regional Festival of Puppet Theatres of the Association of Puppet Theaters of the Siberian region as part of the Trans-regional Association “Siberian Agreement”, which was dedicated to the 45th anniversary of the Puppet Theater “The Golden Key” and the 60th anniversary of the closed administrative-territorial entity Zheleznogorsk city. It was attended by theater groups from Barnaul, Bratsk, Irkutsk, Kalachinsk, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk, Tyumen, and Ulan-Ude. Such a big event was organized for the first time in the closed city of Rosatom system. The jury of the festival was composed of outstanding personalities in the art of puppetry, theater critics from St. Petersburg and representatives of the puppet theater movement from the city of Subotica in Serbia and from the city of Tehran in Iran.
For more than forty years now, every two years the Puppet Theater holds the festival of children’s amateur groups. In 2010, the theater transitioned to a new level and organized and held the first Regional festival of children's puppet theaters as part of the 25th City festival of amateur children's puppet theaters "Wonderland", which was attended by 13 theater groups from the cities and towns of Zheleznogorsk, Sosnovoborsk, Emelyanovo, Nazarovo, Boguchany, Bogotol and others. In March of 2014 the 3rd Regional festival of amateur puppet theaters and the 27th Festival of amateur children's puppet theaters "Wonderland" took place.
The theatre has an extensive touring schedule around the cities of Krasnoyarsk Territory and other regions; it also collaborates with various international artists. In 2004, as part of a cultural exchange program “Twin Cities” the theater went on tour to the United States, Tennessee, with the performances of “Kroshechka-Havroshechka” and “Let's play Little Red Riding Hood.” In 2011, our theater hosted as honored guests the amateur puppet theater from the city of Bremen (Germany) “Theater62Bremen” under the direction of Mikhael and Karen Wentz for the purpose of cultural exchange between Russia and Germany and as part of the international project “Russian-German children's and youth theater weeks.” In 2013 the actors-puppeteers from the Puppet Theater “The Golden Key” and the artist from the studio “The Magician” of the creative center at “The Golden Key” together with the theater studio “The Reflection” from the Krasnoyarsk gymnasium No. 15 performed at different venues in the city of Bremen (Germany) with the play “Wonderland,” which was directed by the teacher of the studio “Harlequin” T. Frolova. They performed 6 times for more than 500 viewers and also held three master-classes.
Starting in 2006, in order to raise additional funds, the theater has been participating in various grant programs at both regional and federal levels.
In 2006, the Puppet Theatre “The Golden Key” worked on the project “Professional art of puppetry – golden keys to develop and support creative youth of the city,” which was aimed at working with the talented youth of the city. Teenagers, selected to participate in this project, have been taught for a year by various instructors the basics of acting, scenic speech, stage movement, acting in puppetry, skills of theater artist. The completion of the project was the production of “Colorful miracle.” In parallel with this project the Puppet Theater also organized the courses “The art of charm in eloquence” for teenagers and adults. All of that has prompted the establishment in 2009 of the theater-studio "Harlequin" at the premises of the theater, where today children have been studying for five years now the basics of scenic speech, acting, making puppets and decorations, vocal skills.
Later, it was decided to merge all the courses available in the theater. Thus, in 2011, at the premises of the Puppet Theater “The Golden Key” was officially opened the theatrical and creative center of the same name, where experienced teachers help children and adults discover and develop their creative potential. The theatrical and creative center has three studios: “Harlequin” for children of 5-12 years old, “The Magician” for teenagers aged 12 to 16 years and “The Theatrical profession” for adults. Moral and aesthetic education that a teenager receives from attending the studios of the theatrical and creative center plays a very important role in the development of his personality. Every year the students of the studios produce a show. And more than once their creative work has found its recognition with the awards at various festivals.
Our Puppet Theatre creates favorable environment for developing creative talents, imagination and attention of children, for obtaining artistic knowledge and getting exposed to the art of the theater for as many representatives of the younger generation as possible.
The Puppet Theatre “The Golden Key” stays strong, keeps on growing and keeping pace with the times. Since 1999, the Puppet Theatre "The Golden Key" is a member of the Association of Puppet Theaters of the Siberian region as part of the Trans-regional Association "Siberian Agreement". In 2009, the Puppet Theatre "The Golden Key" became a member of the International Puppetry Association UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionettes). UNIMA is the first international public organization in the history of the theater community. Since 2012, the Puppet Theatre “The Golden Key” has been a member of a non-commercial partnership - Professional Guild to support theater management in legal, social and educational areas “Club of the Theater Directors.”
Today the theater is full of strength and energy to carry out the most ambitious projects, to implement interesting ideas and infinitely create. People, who have become part of the theater, are capable of many amazing things to see smiling and happy faces of the audiences who visit this magical place – the Puppet Theatre.