The Alexandrinsky Theatre is the oldest Russian national theatre. It was founded on 30 August 1756 by a Senate decree signed by Elizabeth of Russia to play Fonvizin, Lukin, Racine, Molière, Beaumarchais, Voltaire, and Derzhavin.
Since 1832, the theatre has occupied an Empire-style building that Carlo Rossi designed. It was built in 1828-1832 on Alexandrinsky Square (now Ostrovsky Square), which is situated on Nevsky Prospekt between the Russian State Library and Anichkov Palace. The theatre and the square were named after Empress consort Alexandra Feodorovna. The building is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.
The premières of numerous Russian plays have been performed at the stage of the Alexandrinsky, including plays by Alexandr Griboyedov, Aleksandr Ostrovsky, and Anton Chekhov. Famous directors who have staged work there include Vsevolod Meyerhold, Grigori Kozintsev, Georgy Tovstonogov, and Nikolay Akimov.
On 30 August 2006 the theatre reopened after reconstruction.