Nikolay Petrov was born on 10 June, 1880 in Ekaterinburg. He began his creative work in 1907 as an actor in the Volgograd Drama Theatre. From 1908 to 1910 he studied in the directing course at MAT.
From 1910 to 1933, he worked in the Aleksandrovskiy Theatre as follows: as a director’s assistant, then as director, and in 1928 became the artistic and managing director of the theatre. At the same time, from 1910 onward he began to take on teaching roles. From 1918 to 1920, he worked in the Petrozavodskiy Drama Theatre, and took part in mounting massive performances in Petrograd.
He worked on the shows “The Bat,” “The House of Intermezzos,” “The Stray Dog,” and “The Commendants’ Stop” as a director and master of ceremonies, using the pseudonym “Kolya Peter.”
In 1920, together with N.N. Evreinov and Y.P. Annenkov, he became the organizer of the “Free-Form Comedy Theatre.” In 1921 and 1922 he was the main director at BDT (Bolshoi Drama Theatre). Having become the artistic director of the former Aleksandrinskiy Theatre, Petrov actively introduced Soviet drama into the repertoire; they staged productions of “Calm,” by V.N. Bill-Belotserskovskiy; “Armoured Train 14-69,” by Vs.V. Ivanov; “Fury,” by E.G. Yanovskiy; and “Crank” and “Fear" by A.N. Afinogenov.