1. Taganka / Tagansky. A district in the city of Moscow, Russia, between the Moskva and Yauza rivers, home to approx. 110 thousand people (2002). In the center of the district is the Taganka Square.
2. Taganka Square / Taganskaya Square. A square in the center of the Taganka district, formed in 1813 by the merger of two pre-existing squares. The square is the site of the Taganskaya subway station, the church of Saint Nicholas on Bolvanovka, and the Taganka Theatre.
3. Taganka Theatre. A theatre founded in 1946 in the Art Nouveau building on Taganka Square, and reorganized in 1964 by Yuri Lyubimov, with a staff of graduates from the acting school of the Vakhtangov Theatre that he had been a part of. During its heyday, the troupe included such luminaries as Alla Demidova and Vladimir Vysotsky in its ranks.
The Taganka theatre was the first to introduce the works of Bertolt Brecht to Russia, with their performance in 1964 of The Good Person of Szechwan. Beyond Brecht, the repertoire of the theatre followed three distinct directions: classical/traditional drama (Shakespeare, Molière, Ostrovsky); theatrical performances of novels (Bulgakov, Dostoyevsky); and performances dealing with the lives of poets and social criticism (Mayakovsky, Vysotsky). It was the latter category that caused the downfall of Lyubimov. Many of the theatre's productions had been banned by Soviet authorities, and ultimately Lyubimov was stripped of Soviet citizenship and exiled in 1984.
In his absence, the theatre was placed under the capable-yet-loyal leadership of Anatoly Efros, who had previously collaborated with Lyubimov on many stage projects, and had been invited into the theatre troupe some years before. However, his appointment was met with derision and boycott from the theatre troupe. Upon his death in 1987, the theatre was given into the not-so-capable but certainly loyal hands of Nikolay Gubenko who brought with him his own coterie of Communist Party loyalists.
When Lyubimov returned from exile in 1989, Gubenko's clique split from the theatre, forming their own troupe, the Community of Taganka Actors. By 1993, this split had become official.