Helen Azar

 

Grand Duchesse Maria and Grand Duchess Anastasia performing a play for the Romanov family in Tobolsk.
Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duchess Anastasia performing in a play in 1912.

One of few entertainments the Romanov family had in captivity in Tobolsk, especially during the cold winter months when they could not go outside, was putting on plays. The youngest imperial children were especially enthusiastic about dressing up and memorizing the lines, and had a lot of fun doing it. Grand Duchess Olga was in charge of writing out the scripts and . Some of these scripts written in her hand survived and are currently kept at the Russian archives in Moscow.

Script handwritten by Olga Romanov of a play called "Yavlenie" ("The Apparition")
Page from a script of a play called “Yavlenie” (“The Apparition”) – handwritten by Olga Romanov. Held at GARF

Putting on plays was mentioned numerous times in diaries and letters the Romanovs wrote from Tobolsk. Here are a couple of examples, below:

From Anastasia Romanov to A.Vyrubova. 10 December, 1917.

My darling and dear: Thank you tenderly for your little gift. It was so nice to get it, reminding me especially of you. We remember you and speak of you often, and in our prayers we are always together. The little dog you gave [us] is always with us and is very nice. We have arranged our rooms comfortably and all four live together. We often sit at the windows looking at the people passing by, and this gives us distraction…  We have acted in little plays for amusement. We walk in the garden behind high planks. God bless you.                              AN

 

Grand Duchess Olga and Nicholas II in an artist's rendition of the play "The Bear" the Romanov family put on in Tobolsk.
Grand Duchess Olga and Nicholas II in Artist Anne Lloyd’s rendition of the play – “The Bear”- which the Romanov family put on in Tobolsk

From Alexei  Romanov to A. Vyrubova. 12 January, 1918.

My darling Anya. We are so glad to have news from you, and to hear that you got all our things. Today it is 29 degrees of frost, a strong wind and sunshine. We walked, and I went on skis in the yard. Yesterday I acted a French piece with Tatiana and Zhylik. We are now preparing another piece. We have a few good soldiers with whom I play games in their rooms. Kolya Derevenko comes to visit me on holidays. Nagorny the sailor sleeps with me.  As servants we have Volkov, Sednev, Trupp and Chemodurov. It is time to go to lunch. I kiss and embrace you. God bless you.                            ALEXEI

Page from a script handwritten by Olga Romanov of a play called "Yavlenie" ("The Apparition")
Page from a script of a play handwritten by Olga Romanov. Held at GARF
Close up of the last line of the play, written in Olga Romanov's hand. "Voice behind the door: 'Sleep well, Colonel, Good night!'"
Close up of the last line of a play, written in Olga Romanov’s hand. “Voice behind the door: ‘Sleep well, Colonel, Good night!'”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the book Russia’s Last Romanovs: In Their Own Words  

Grand Duchess Olga, Greand Duchess Tatiana and Grand Duchess Maria Romanov dressed in costumes, possibly for a play they put on for the family before the Russian revolution broke out.
Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov dressed in costumes, possibly for a play they put on for the family before the Russian revolution broke out.
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4 thoughts on “ROMANOV FAMILY: ON STAGE IN TOBOLSK

  1. What a beautiful family, Nobel people there were. Man is the cruelest animal f all. Thanks for sharing this link Helen Azar!

    Reply

  2. Oh, holy cow. These dolls are criminally goregous!!! The fact that these are handmade and are so finely intricate makes my heart stop. Absolutely amazing.But your work, too! Wow! I so, so, sooooo love paper, and your shoes are stunning to the highest degree! Wow! I cannot say that enough.And congratulations on receiving the Renee Award. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad you did, so that I could find you and become spellbound.

    Reply

  3. In the photo of the three sisters in costume at the end of this piece, it should actually be identified as Maria, Tatiana, and Olga (L-R). Betting Anastasia was actually the photographer!

    Reply

    1. If you look at the bottom right, you can see a blurry Anastasia sitting beside Olga. Take care and please be safe during these times!

      Reply

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