Andrew Vershinin founded the HSE Theatre in 1997. We consider December 27 to be HSE Theatre's birthday. That is the day that the first performance, the musical ‘Prostokvashino’, was performed.

One should note that, initially, the HSE Theatre was a collective of various student artistic groups. The HSE Theatre Studio was established only in 1999, at the SU–HSE Theatre. Then Alexander Nazarov, a pedagogue from the Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK), was invited to our Theatre School. He oversaw recruitment to the SU-HSE Theatre Studio. Nazarov’s students from VGIK – Alexey Musin, Nelli Uvarova, Olga Glushko, Irina Sirotinskaya – taught classes with him.

The first performance of the Theatre Studio was ‘Art’, based on Yasmin Reza’s work of the same name. The play was directed by Olga Glushko. At the time, the Theatre Studio was housed on the ground floor of the building on Myasnitskaya Street. The walls were still green and all the lighting equipment had been borrowed from Yermolova's Theatre. The premiere was performed twice in one day. Later, that performance was recognized at the Festos student creativity festival, and it and was awarded Best Amateur Performance at the Expert Performance Festival in 2002.

By that time, all of the VGIK students who had taught in the Theatre Studio had graduated from University. They moved on to pursue careers in theatre and couldn't devote much time to teach at the Studio.

At this point, Irina Sirotinskaya headed the Studio, where she combined work in theatre and film, and taught students at the HSE Theatre. Together with Sergey Pikalov, of the Russian State Academic Youth Theatre, Nelli Uvarova directed ‘Love on a Dark Street’.

In 2003-2004 Sergey Pikalov worked on the production of the play ‘I.O.’, as an actor.

In 2004-2005, Irina Sirotinskaya taught at the Theatre Studio. At the end of the school year, the play ‘War Stories’ was performed. The play was composed of excerpts from various military-themed works. For that play, the Theatre won an award at FESTOS-2005.

In 2005-2006, Irina Sirotinskaya actively took part in filming the TV series ‘Not Born Beautiful’. For this reason, Timur Isupov, an actor and director, was involved in the teaching process. Together with Irina Sirotinskaya they released the Class Concert ‘ParadO'Xy’, which was awarded the prize for the best director at the first ‘Flying on the Waves’ festival in Dubna. Moreover, Timur staged a literary event dedicated to the 60th anniversary of World War II.

In 2006-2007, Irina Sirotinskaya staged ‘Don't Part With Your Loved Ones’, based on the play by A.Volodin. This was the first performance of the Studio that became part of the Theatre’s permanent repertoire. Since then, all of the plays that followed became permanent fixtures of the HSE Theatre’s repertoire. For this performance, the Theatre was nominated for ‘Best Duet’ and ‘Best Female Supporting Role’ at the 2007 Flying on Waves Festival. The performance was awarded the Grand Prix at FESTOS-2008.

In 2007-2008, Irina Sirotinskaya and Timur Isupov started their work on ‘The Star Without a Name’, based on the play by M. Sebastian. The premiere took place on February 28, 2009. Unfortunately, the play was staged only five times, since two actresses who had major roles couldn't stay with the Theatre for various reasons.

In 2008-2009, Irina Sirotinskaya staged ‘A May Night, or the Drowned Woman’, based on Nikolai Gogol’s tale of the same name. The play premiered on June 20, 2009.

In 2009-2010, Irina Sirotinskaya staged ‘Terrible Revenge’, based again on a piece by Gogol. The premiere took place on April 24, 2010. That year only Irina Sirotinskaya taught at the Studio. On December 25, 2009 in the concert hall of the HSE Cultural Centre, the Theatre performed a play based on O. Henry’s story ‘The Gift of the Magi’. That was how the HSE Theatre’s annual tradition of putting on Christmas performances for HSE students and staff began.

During the 2010-2011 academic year Irina Sirotinskaya staged the play ‘Playing the Friendly Family, or the French Side-Dish’, based on the M. Camoletti play. That year the actress Tatyana Orlova of the Mayakovsky Theatre came to the HSE Theatre Studio. She helped teach and stage ‘Eight Women’ (R.Toma – F.Ozon). In addition, the Studio welcomed new teachers of stage movement: Oxana Rybalka, Nikolay Timokhin, and Ruslan Larin, all of whom studied at the GITIS musical theatre faculty under A. Barmak. Before that, there the Theatre did not offer regular classes on stage movement. Oxana Rybalka staged ‘The Warsaw Melody’, based on the play by L. Zorin. With that performance, the Theatre took first place in the ‘large theatre form’ category and also won in the ‘Best Female Role’ and ‘The Best Female Supporting Role’ nomination at the ‘Flying on the Waves’ Festival (Dubna, 2011). The HSE Christmas Evening, which featured a performance based on Pushkin's ‘The Snowstorm’, took place on December 27, 2010.

In the 2011-2012 academic year Tatyana Orlova staged ‘White Nights’ (based on the work by Dostoevsky), which premiered on April 14, 2012. On May 5, 2012, the Theatre premiered a one-act play by A. Volodin, ‘Five Evenings’ which was staged by  Oxana Rybalka.

From June 1–7, 2012, the HSE Theatre Acting Studio participated in the third Russian Festival of artistic workshops ‘Theatrical Stained Glass’ in Zarechny.  

In 2012-2013, Irina Sirotinskaya staged ‘The Pygmalion’, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. The premiere took place on November 3, 2012, and in May 2013 the play was performed at the ‘Flying on the Waves’ Student Theatre Festival.

In Fall 2013/Spring 2014, Tatyana Orlova staged ‘Reality Show’ (based on the J. Anouilh's ‘Orchestra’). Premiere performances of that play took place on December 28 and 29, 2013.

In October, the HSE Theatre took part in the theatre festival at the D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, where ‘Playing the Friendly Family, or the French Side-Dish’ was staged.

In December, the HSE Theatre took part in the ‘New View’ student festival of amateur and professional theatre, hosted by the Gorky Literature Institute. There the play ‘Terrible Revenge’ became the first-degree laureate.

In May, the HSE Theatre took part in the interregional festival of youth theatres ‘Apart-E’, held in Saint-Petersburg, where students performed ‘A May Night, or the Drowned Woman’.

In 2014-2015, Irina Sirotinskaya staged the Russian children’s fairy tale, ‘The Tower House’. The premiere took place on October 25, 2014. It was the first play for kids in the repertoire. The New Year's version of that play was performed on December 28, 2014.

In April 2015, the HSE Theatre together with other creative collectives of HSE University took part in a concert for veterans, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the USSR’s victory in World War II. 

By summer 2015, Irina Sirotinskaya had returned the play ‘Don't Part with Your Loved Ones’ to the repertoire. Before that, the spectacle hadn't been performed because the main role actors couldn't take part in the play anymore. It premiered on June 27, 2015.

The HSE Theatre is a vibrant enterprise that continues to grow. Our Theatre participates in almost every official event at HSE University. Every year HSE Theatre admits new people to our team.