It was founded in 1932 by Moscow Academy of Maly Theatre . The city has a large number of buildings remaining from the 17th and 18th centuries; however, many parts of the town are dominated by Soviet era apartment blocks, dating mainly from the 1960s, similar to other provincial towns which expanded rapidly due to fast industrialization.
Initially the theatre performed Russian classics, translated into the Mordovian languages, but later they began to adapt the drama works of national authors for the stage. It was given an old building with 35 seats for the audience in semi-basement room. These buildings are nearing the end of their service life and are in need of serious repair and, in many cases, replacement.
Transition periods are extremely short and only April and October are between 0 °C (32 °F) and 10 °C (50 °F) in mean temperatures. The most notable industrial enterprises include the Lisma Electrical Factory which employs nearly 12,000 people; the Biokhimik pharmaceutical facility; Rezinotekhnika, a rubber products manufacturer; cable manufacturer Saranskkabel; and Elektrovypryamitel, which manufactures electronic components and, on a small scale, television sets.
Industrial activity in Saransk includes the production of electrical cables, chemical production, textile manufacturing, food processing, machine building, and metallurgy. Saransk is by far the largest city in Mordovia and accounts for 34.3% of the total population of the republic (as of the 2002 Census).
During the World War II it was free for everyone who wanted to come and see the plays. Since 1950-s the theatre has presented mostly the classical Russian plays, such as «Anna Karenina», «Uncle Vanya» etc.