Theater arts education

Image - Berezil actors during fencing lessons (Odesa, 1927).

Theater arts education. Early theatrical training in Ukraine took place from the late 18th century in schools attached to the serf theaters on estates. In the 19th century private theatrical schools became popular. During this time Mikhail Shchepkin, who lectured in theaters in Kharkiv and Poltava, helped develop a more realistic style of acting. His methods were developed by the noted Ukrainian directors Marko Kropyvnytsky, Mykhailo Starytsky, Mykola Sadovsky, and Panas Saksahansky.

Professional theater arts education in Kyiv began in 1904 with the opening of a drama department at the Lysenko Music and Drama School in Kyiv, under the directorship of Mariia Starytska. The curriculum included drama, dance, fencing, make-up, history and theory of drama, and history of costumes. The main goal of the department was to train young actors for work in a contemporary Ukrainian theater. In 1918 the school was reorganized as the Lysenko Music and Drama Institute; it existed until 1934. Its director, Les Kurbas (assisted by Hnat Ihnatovych), trained the students in his method of ‘transformed gestures.’ In 1934 the Lysenko Institute was abolished, and the Kyiv Institute of Theater Arts was formed in its place, with training based on Konstantin Stanislavsky’s method. The Berezil theater (1922–33), at first in Kyiv and then in Kharkiv, also held educational workshops and lectures. The Kharkiv Music and Drama Institute was formed in 1923, and until 1934 the training was based on Kurbas’s method. In 1939 it became the Kharkiv Theater Institute (after 1963 the Kharkiv Institute of Arts). Its theater program includes stage acting, directing, puppetry, and theater studies.

In Lviv there was a theatrical school in 1942–44 led by the former Berezil actors Yosyp Hirniak and Olimpiia Dobrovolska. In Odesa the Theater Arts and Technology Institute (est 1945) taught stage and theatrical scenery, make-up, lighting, and costume and prop making. The Dnipropetrovsk Theater Academy in Dnipropetrovsk taught drama and puppetry. Theatrical scenery education was offered by the Kyiv State Art Institute and the Kharkiv Industrial Design Institute. Theater administration was taught at the Kyiv Institute of Culture, Kharkiv Institute of Culture, and Rivne Institute of Culture and in other cultural education schools. (See also Music education.)

Valeriian Revutsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]




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