Big Academic Drama Theatre or simply BDT is a mainstream drama theatre of St. Petersburg. It was founded in 1919 by an outstanding Russian poet Alexander Blok, actress Maria Andreeva, the then-Commissar for Theater Affairs and celebrated Russian Soviet writer Maxim Gorky, whose name it bore for a long time and whose plays were staged here. It was the first drama theatre in post-revolutionary Soviet Russia. The goal of the BDT founders was to create a theatre of «classic tragedy, romantic drama and high comedy».

During the WWII the theatre was evacuated, but as soon as the siege had been broken, the theatre returned back by the first train, going to Leningrad (StPetersburg).

Big Drama Theatre began to gain really great popularity, when on 13th of February, 1956, Georgy Tovstonogov, future leader of the theatre, which now bears his name, had opened its doors. It was the beginning of its golden age which lasted till 1989, when George Tovstonogov died. Still every year this date, 13th February is celebrated as a birthday of the theatre, which became the city’s most innovative one under his direction. It was Georgy Tovstonogov, who returned Fyodor Dostoevsky’s works into Soviet theater, by his productions of «The Insulted and Humiliated». This outstanding teacher brought up a generation of legendary actors, he formed a brilliant theatre company, which still brings fame and honour to BDT. Due to him the theater gained international acclaim. He staged performances that became the glorified masterpieces of theatrical culture. Today actors of BDT strive to cherish traditions, founded by their celebrated teacher.