In 1920, on the third anniversary of the October Revolution, dramatist Nikolai Evreinov directed a cast of 10,000 actors, dancers, and circus performers—as well as a convoy of armored cars and tanks—in The Storming of the Winter Palace. The mass spectacle, presented in and around the real Winter Palace in Petrograd, was intended to recall the storming as the beginning of the October Revolution. But it was a deceptive reenactment because, in producing the events it sought to reenact, it created a new kind of theater, agit-drama, promulgating political propaganda and deliberately breaking down the distinction between performers and spectators.
Nikolaj Evreinov: “The Storming of the Winter Palace” tells the fascinating story of this production. Taking readers through the relevant history, the authors describe the role of The Storming of the Winter Palace in commemorating Soviet power. With a wealth of illustrations, they also show how photographs of Evreinov’s theatrical storming eventually became historical documents of the October Revolution themselves.