Bringing theatre to the world

Whenever Russian theatre is in town, you can be pretty sure that the DSV office in St. Petersburg is part of the production – behind the scenes as the transporter of all sets and props.

Scene from Flames of Paris production by Mikhailovsky Theatre

Since sets and props are special (oversize/delicate/fragile) cargo, it is handled by the Projects department. In St. Petersburg, they have more than seven years of experience literally bringing Russian (and other national) theatre, events and exhibitions to a global audience.

Dedicated to theatre transport

It started in the late 1990s when the French transport company, Dubois, became the official transporter for the Mariinsky Theatre. To cut a long story short, Dubois became part of DSV with the ABX acquisition in 2008, and by then, the theatre transport team in St. Petersburg had developed a large customer base in Russia and the rest of the world providing transports for theatre festivals in Russia as well as worldwide theatre exhibitions and tours.

Today, St. Petersburg has the only known dedicated theatre and events transport team within DSV.

DSV warehouse employee surrounded by theatre characters - in monkey suits

DSV warehouse employee with characters from the Forget me not production by Philippe Genty. DSV Russia handled the transport for PG in connection with the Chekhov International Theatre Festival in 2015: France-Moscow-St. Petersburg-Pskov-Voronej-Ekaterinburg-France.

On time or no show

Customers include the Mikhailovsky Theatre, the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the Vakhtangov Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, La Comédie-Française, Piccolo Teatro di Milano and others. All of them require their sets and props to be delivered 100% on time. Delays – even small ones – are unacceptable, because they could potentially lead to cancellation, which not only comes at great cost but also disappointment for the usually large ticketed audience.

DSV truck in downtown St. Petersburg outside Mikhailovsky Theatre

DSV delivery of theatrical props to regular customer Mikhailovsky Theatre in the St. Petersburg city centre.

As a rule, projects transports are complicated and time consuming, involving months of preparation and a lot of paperwork to get it right, but when there is no margin for error, the pressure is really on.

All theatre transports must be coordinated with and checked against all tour details, with the official authorities and theatre representatives; delivery routes are meticulously planned; and inventory lists must be checked and re-checked – if not, the production might be missing an important part or prop. 

It goes without saying that there is a lot of trust involved; customer relationships are usually very close and loyal – as long as you can deliver the goods of course. Thankfully, and in large part due to experience, the St. Petersburg theatre and events team has been able to maintain customer relationships over time.

DSV truck outside Zenit Stadium in St. Petersburg
DSV delivering equipment at the St. Petersburg Zenit stadium for several football league and cup matches in 2015-2016.

Read more about our Projects transports.