Media Release

PENETRON on Stage – at the St. Petersburg Theatre of Europe


The expansion project of the renowned Maly Drama Theatre (& Theatre of Europe) in St. Petersburg, Russia was completed January 2019. Penetron provided the integral crystalline protection for more durable concrete basement structures.

The Maly Drama Theatre (MDT) was originally a small, mobile, war-time theater created in 1944 during WWII that performed in towns and villages of the Leningrad region. In 1956, the theatre company finally found a home on Rubinstein Street in St. Petersburg. Today, the MDT is a recognized leader among Russian theatres, as well as receiving international acclaim as a leader in developing theatrical arts. It was named a “Theatre of Europe” in 1998, an honor given only to two other famous stages: the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe in Paris, France, and Piccolo Teatro della Città di Milano in Milan, Italy.

With over 60 theatres and performance companies in St. Petersburg, the city was also home to the country’s first public theatre (“The Russian Theatre for the Performance of Tragedies and Comedies"), established in 1756 by Empress Elizabeth. In 2013, the Russian government approved the construction of a new, more spacious facility for the Maly Drama Theatre on Zvenigorodskaya Street in downtown St. Petersburg, which will give the new MBT access to over 22,500 m2 of space. The new seven-floor building now accommodates a theatre with seating for 600 spectators, classrooms for the theatrical school and a research library.

Providing maximum durability with crystalline technology

“Our Penetron St. Petersburg team worked closely with the project architects at Mamoshin to provide an optimal concrete waterproofing solution for the expansion of the theatre complex,” explains Yevgeniya Kuzminova, Director of Penetron St. Petersburg. “Considering the geology of our city, Penetron crystalline products provide a maximum level of concrete durability.”

PENETRON ADMIX was added to the concrete mix for the new theatre’s basement structures during batching. The resulting construction joints (5 km/3.1 miles) were sealed with PENEBAR SW swellable-type waterstop. Finally, all concrete basement floor surfaces were treated with PENETRON crystalline material, a total area of about 3,100 m2 (34,100 square feet).

“The Penetron St. Petersburg team also provided constant support. This became a crucial part of finishing the project on time because the project contractors changed during the construction process,” adds Yevgeniya Kuzminova.

Blocking moisture penetration in concrete

When building in the cold, wet Russian climate, concrete structures can deteriorate rapidly, often resulting in massive maintenance and repair costs. However, once Penetron’s crystalline technology is absorbed into the concrete mix or the surface, it successfully stops any moisture penetration into the concrete structure, even when exposed to the harsh environment found in St. Petersburg. It also provides a permanent self-healing capability to seal hairline cracks that may appear later.

“Building on the shores of the Neva River is always a challenge for any contractor, and the Maly Drama Theatre project was no exception,” says Robert Revera, President and CEO of The Penetron Group. “Fortunately, Penetron crystalline technology is easy to use and unaffected by the local climatic conditions. It becomes an integral part of the concrete matrix and performs consistently during the life of the concrete – an ideal solution for St. Petersburg!”


The Maly Drama Theatre basement needed protection from the harsh local climate. PENETRON ADMIX was added to the concrete mix as a permanent waterproofing solution.

Built by the Neva River: The Maly Drama Theatre basement needed protection from the harsh local climate. PENETRON ADMIX was added to the concrete mix as a permanent waterproofing solution.

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