Lesia Ukrainka National Academic Drama Theater

Image - The National Academic Theater of Russian Drama: a performance of Anton Chekhov Cherry Orchard.

Lesia Ukrainka National Academic Drama Theater [Національний академічний драматичний театр ім. Лесі Українки; Natsionalnyi akademichnyi dramatychnyi teatr im. Lesi Ukrainky]. Formed in 1926 in Kyiv as Kyiv Russian Drama Theater out of the Second State Theater of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, which had been organized in 1919 out of the Solovtsev Theater. In 1941 the theater was named in honor of Lesia Ukrainka. In 1966 it was promoted to the status of an academic theater and assumed the name Academic Theater of Russian Drama. Of all Kyiv theaters it was most favored by the Communist Party during the Soviet times. The theater used the stage to propagate Russian culture. Its repertoire consisted of Russian classics and Soviet plays, including Ukrainian plays such as Liubomyr Dmyterko’s Naviky razom (Together Forever), Vadym Sobko’s Zhyttia pochynaiet'sia znovu (Life Begins Again), Yurii Yanovsky’s Dochka prokurora (The Public Prosecutor’s Daughter), Oleksander Korniichuk’s Zahybel' eskadry (The Destruction of the Squadron) and Platon Krechet, Yaroslav Halan’s Pid zolotym orlom (Under the Golden Eagle), Ivan Mykytenko’s Solo na fleiti (Flute Solo), and Yurii Shcherbak’s Spodivatys'! (To Hope!). Of Ukrainian classics, Lesia Ukrainka’s Kaminnyi Hospodar (The Stone Host) was staged in 1939 by K. Khokhlov (sets by Anatol Petrytsky), and her U pushchi (In the Wilderness) was staged in 1958 by M. Romanov. The repertoire contains a modest selection of world drama: William Shakespeare’s Othello and Comedy of Errors, Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller’s Don Carlos. Quite a few Ukrainians have worked in the theater: eg, V. Dukler, Viktor Dobrovolsky, D. Franko, and A. Reshetchenko. In 1966 the theatre was granted a national status and assumed the name National Academic Theater of Russian Drama. Since 1994 Mykhailo Reznikovych has been artistic director. In February 2022, following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the theater removed the words ‘Russian’ from its name and changed its repertoire.

Valeriian Revutsky

[This article was updated in 2022.]

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