Alexander Brullov was commissioned to design the new theatre building. It had to match the existing ensemble of Mikhailovsky Square, now Arts Square. On 8 November 1833, on the name day of the Grand duke Mikhail, brother of Emperor Nicholas I, the curtain rose for the first time in the new theatre. The same year the French troupe, which had previously shared the stage with Russian actors in another recently completed theatre, the Alexandrinsky, moved into the new building. Thus began the eighty-five year-long life of the French Theatre in St Petersburg. French plays alternated with Russian and German works interspersed with musical parties and concerts. Beginning in the 1870s, the Mikhailovsky Theatre opened its doors to anyone wishing to perform on its stage.