The company was founded in 1776 as the private theatre of Prince Pyotr Urusov.
The famous Bolshoi Theatre building shown in the picture above was opened on October 20th, 1856.
The Theatre is located in Moscow's Theatre Square.
In 2002 it was given a New Stage as the Historic Stage was being reconstructed from 2005 to 2011. It is now well restored and performances are held on both stages.
The Theatre has an Opera company, a Ballet company and an Orchestra. All three companies are famous all around the world for their excellence.
The Bolshoi Theatre's company was first founded as the private theatre of Prince Pyotr Urusov after Empress Catherine II allowed him to lead theatrical performances for a period of ten years.
The Theatre's artists from the Opera and Dramatic company (which formed one single company during that time) mostly came from the Moscow University or from the Moscow Foundling Home, which organised dramatic lessons for its children. All of the artists came from different backgrounds and formed a very diverse group.
The Theatre's first building opened on 30 December 1780 on Petrovska Street and was later named the Petrovsky Theatre.
Prince Urusov eventually gave up his ownership of the Theatre as he ran out of money.
The Theatre had a few more owners but eventually was given back to the Loan Office until 1806 when the Theatre came under the joint Directorate of Imperial Theatres.
That same year, the Petrovsky Theatre school was called the Moscow Imperial Theatre College for the training of Theatre artists and in 1911 it was called the Moscow School of Ballet.
In 1805, the Petrovsky Theatre building burnt down. In 1808 the Company moved to the new Arbat Theatre, which was built by the famous architect Carlo Rossi. During the 1812 war against Napoleon this Theatre also burned down.
In 1819 a competition for designs for a new theatre was announced. It was won by a professor of the Academy of Arts but his design was too expensive and could not be made. It was handed over to another architect, who improved it significantly,
The new Theatre was very big and glorious. It became one of Moscow's proudest monuments. It was renamed the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theatre.
The building stood for nearly 30 years but in 1853 the Theatre burned down after three days of a raging fire. The whole building was brutally destroyed.
There was another competition for a design for a new Theatre and it was won by Alberto Cavos.
The new Bolshoi Theatre opened on 20 August 1856.
It was much more innovative technologically and also much more beautiful, with sculptures and decorations everywhere. Cavos focused on making a more elegant and spacious environment both on stage and in the auditorium.
The main stage curtain was made by the Italian artist Cosroe Dusi but after the 1917 Revolution, the old imperial theatre curtains were 'banished' and a new Soviet curtain was made by Fyodor Fyodorovsky. It became the Theatre's main curtain.
The Theatre building began to decay as it was built on piles. It was repaired from 1895 to 1898.
The last performance at the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre took place on 28 February 1917. On the 13th of March it was renamed the State Bolshoi Theatre.
After the Revolution, the Theatre faced the threat of being closed. But in 1922, the Bolsheviks decided to keep it for economical reasons.
The news that the Soviet Union had officially been established was announced from the Bolshoi Theatre's stage.
In April 1941, the Bolshoi Theatre closed for renovation again after it was decided that it had to be totally reconstructed.
That same year in June, the Germans invaded the USSR. Part of the Bolshoi Theatre Company went into hiding, part remained in Moscow and continued to give performances, some went to the front to entertain soldiers, while others joined and went to fight against the Germans.
On 22 October 1941, a bomb fell on the Bolshoi Theatre building and did considerable damage. Restoration work began in 1942.
In 1943, the Bolshoi Theatre opened again and began to show performances.
Finally, in 1987, it was decided that a New Stage would be built for the Theatre.
After the death of Joseph Stalin, the Bolshoi Ballet Company began to tour the world and make a name for itself.
On the 29th of November 2002, the New Stage opened.
In 2005 the Bolshoi Theatre Historic Stage was closed for complete reconstruction. The process finished in 2009 and changed the building completely into a new Bolshoi Theatre. Now, thanks to the renovation, the Theatre is what it is today.