We head to Glasgow for our latest Curiosity of the Week, as we take a look at one of the city’s unique hidden treasures. The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre allows visitors to enter a unique, magical, and dark world of mechanical sculptures.
Sharmanka (Russian for barrel-organ) was founded by sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky and theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1989. Audiences in many countries have been fascinated by its magic, and the theatre has been based in Glasgow since 1996, gaining a reputation as one of the city’s hidden treasures.
Bersudsky began carving in his late 20s and he took part in some exhibitions of “non-conformist art” during the Soviet era. In the 1970s and 1980s he began making kinetic sculptures, featuring grotesque carved figures, made from bits of old furniture and scrap metal. After being driven out of Russia in the 1990s, Sharmanka moved to Scotland. Since then, they have won creative awards and entertained thousands of tourists from around the world.
The wood and metal sculptures feature strange and ingenious contraptions and characters, which tell funny and tragic stories.
Visitors to the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre can view the wonderful sculptures in the gallery and watch their show, which usually lasts about 40 minutes. The shows use music, light, and shadow to create a unique artistic effect.
The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre can be found at Trongate 103 in Glasgow. And if you are in Edinburgh, be sure to pop in and see Sharmanka’s Millennium Clock Tower at the National Museum of Scotland (we’ve seen it and it’s wonderfully captivating).
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