Combining automata, haunting lighting, and unique soundscapes, the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre brings to life historical tales with whimsy and often ghoulish inventions.
This astonishing kinetic theatre showcases the life works of Eduard Bersudsky, a Russian-born mechanic and sculptor. With the aid of theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya, Sharmanka (which translates from the Russian as “hurdy-gurdy”) regularly treats visitors to shows of theatrical phantasmagoria, in which Bersudsky’s highly elaborate mechanical exhibits lurch to eerie music telling tales of Communist Russia’s often murky past. As each intricate pieces lurches to life countless tiny monsters and people turn cranks, or ride gears as larger pieces begin to move. Every cobbled together tower and fantastic airship is a small living world unto itself.
Although originally hailing from Russia, Bersudsky has called Glasgow his home since 1993. The center of this work is at the theatre itself, but his phantasmagoric scenes and contraptions often tour the world like a nightmare circus. The works of the Sharmanka Theatre can be seen in museums across Europe and one of their pieces also makes up part of the Royal Museum of Scotland’s Millennium Clock.
Although conveniently located in Glasgow’s bustling city centre, Sharmanka transports guests to a fascinating otherworld in which mute mechanical creatures are the narrators of grotesquely engaging stories.