The Irkutsk Regional Drama Theatre is one of the oldest Russian theatres. It received professional theatre status in 1859 when a professional touring company decided to stay in Irkutsk for permanent work.
The building of the Drama Theatre (formerly called the Town Theatre) was built in 1894-1897 according to the project of the St. Petersburg architect V. Shreter with the funds raised by residents of Irkutsk.
In 1967 the theatre was named after the eminent Russian director N. Okhlopkov whose work began on its stage. In 1997-1999 the theatre building was reconstructed and extended on the initiative of B. Govorin, governor of the Irkutsk region.
The Drama Theatre was given the status of an Academic theatre by order of the Minister of culture on the 31st of August 1999.