Putin, the Bolshoi Ballet and a long-closed Croydon theatre

The Russian embassy in London has started to promote one of the screenings of Croydon’s arthouse cinema.

The Bolshoi Ballet performed in London in 1956, including at Croydon's Davis THeatre

The Bolshoi Ballet performed in London in 1956, including at Croydon’s Davis Theatre

The David Lean Cinema, in the Clocktower arts complex in the town centre, begins its November programme on Wednesday with a special 60th anniversary screening of The Bolshoi Ballet, a record of a historic arts tour in 1956 much of which was filmed during performances by the world-famous ballet troupe at Croydon’s Davis Theatre.

And when the Vladimir Putin’s diplomats haven’t been pre-occupied ridiculing the West’s international policy in Syria or trying to find a port willing to refuel their aircraft carrier, they have been using social media to publicise The Bolshoi Ballet screening in Croydon.

“It’s not often that the Russian embassy gives us publicity, but they have shared our Facebook post and also tweeted about the special 60th anniversary screening celebrating one of the most extraordinary events in Croydon’s cultural history,” a spokesperson for the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign said.

“Thanks to local historian Carole Roberts, we have discovered the fascinating story behind the Bolshoi’s visit to Croydon in 1956.

“During their first tour of the West, three nights at Croydon’s elegant Davis Theatre were their only UK performances following three weeks at the Royal Opera House.

“Remarkably, half of The Bolshoi Ballet was shot at the Davis, and our rare presentation will include a short talk by Carole, explaining the background to the visit and the phenomenal impact it made.”

For booking details and the full November listings of screenings at the David Lean Cinema, click here.

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