Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theater
Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theater is a Ukrainian theater in Kiev.
General information and history
Ivan Franko Theater was founded in Vinnytsia in 1920 by some of the actors of the Young Theater, led by Gnat Yura, and the actors of the New Lviv Theater, led by Ambrose Buchma. The artists united and created a theater group called Ivan Franko New Drama Theater, headed by Gnat Yura.
The theater opening with the play "The Sin" by Volodymyr Vynnychenko took place on January 28, 1920, and 23 premieres were performed during the season.
The repertoire basis of the first seasons was the performances of the Young Theater: "Flooded Bell" by G. Hauptmann, "Molodist" by M. Galbe, "The King Oedipus" by Sophocles. It is interesting that Volodymyr Vynnychenko, having watched the performances of Gnat Yura at the Young Theater, brought him the play "The Sin" for production. Yura produced the play at the Young Theater, and subsequently it was the opening play at Ivan Franko Theater. By the way, in the first season of the theater's existence, most of the repertoire plays were written by V. Vynnychenko. At the same time, one of the new productions, Beaumarchais’s "The Marriage of Figaro", was prepared. In this case, Yura was a translator, director and lead. Since the premiere on August 27, 1920, this play had constantly been in the repertoire of the Franko Theater for thirteen years.
Recalling the founders of Ivan Franko Theater, sometimes they forget that this theater was created by young artists: Gnat Yura was 32 years old, his wife Olga Rubchakivna - 17, Ambrose Buchma, Oleksiy Vatulya - 29, Feodosia Barvinska - 22.
The theater spent the first years of its existence traveling extensively through the cities and villages of central Ukraine. A conspicuous fact in the struggle for existence was the performance of Gnat Yura at the "The Marriage of Figaro" premiere in Vinnytsia, which was attended by the representatives of the Government of the UPR. He stated that not a single theater could exist under the conditions created for Franko Theater, and only craving for work and incredible dedication to the scene saved the theater. At that time, in spite of everyone, Gnat Yura was working on "Lorenzacchio" by de Musset, the premiere of "Sheep's Well" by Lope de Vega took place, they kept on rehearsing Lesya Ukrainka's "Forest Song", and they were still touring...
This time the theater went to Donbass. One of the theater’s founders, artist Matthew Drak helped a lot as never before. From 1920 to 1949, Gnat Yura and Matthew produced many performances. His talent of the artist, deep knowledge and the sense of theatrical space especially became useful in the extreme conditions of the first decade of the existence of the collective. One can only imagine how and where the actors were traveling through mines, factories and workers' settlements with a repertoire consisting of "Forest Song", "Sheep's Well", "At the bottom", "Haydamaky" and "The Marriage of Figaro" for six months on the tracks, and even on foot. One of the performances of the play "Forest song" in Gorlovka was rather peculiar. The play was performed in a huge park, on a bright sunny hot day, without any scenery, the actors were wearing only fabulous stage outfits created by Matthew Drake. However, Donbass tour was the impetus for making Franko Theater the State Theater of the Ukrainian SSR and moving it to the capital of Ukraine, Kharkiv, in 1923.
Lesia Ukrainka's "Forest song", Mykola Gogol's "Government Inspector", Anatoliy Lunacharsky's "The Flames", Bernard Shaw's "St. John", Mykola Kulish "97" are among the best performances of the theater of those years.
In the summer of 1926, Franko Theater was moved to Kyiv by the government decision, while the Berezil Theater moved from Kyiv to Kharkiv. Since 1926, the theater has been operating in the building of the former Solovtsov Theater.
In the 1920-1930s, the actor core of the theater was as follows: Ambrose Buchma, Natalia Uzhvy, Yuri Shumsky, Anna Borysoglebska, Dmytro Milyuttenko, Victor Dobrovolsky, Polina Njatko, Kateryna Osmylovska, Yevgen Ponomarenko, Petro Sergienko, Mykola Yakovchenko, Mykola Bratersky, Olexander Romanenko and others. The following masterpieces of the national and world classics were produced: "The Marriage of Figaro” by Beaumarchais, "Adventures of the Bright Soldier Schweik" by Gashek, "Vanity" by I. Karpenko-Kariy, "Don Carlos" by F. Schiller, "Boris Godunov" by Pushkin.
From the first half of the 1930s, the theater, like a number of other groups, has almost completely switched to propaganda plays of Soviet themes. There was only one classical play among 13 productions staged in 1930-34. Feeling that the actors and theater could lose what had been developed over the years, in 1933 Gnat Yura turned to one of the most beloved productions that saved the theater during hard times, "The Marriage of Figaro". He played the part of Figaro. Frequently, neglecting his own interests and desires as a director, trying to expand the creative range of the theater, Yura invited other directors to produce plays: in 1937, Boris Sushkevich produced the tragedy "Boris Godunov" by Pushkin; in 1939, V. Vilner staged "The Last Victim" by O. Ostrovsky. In the season of the 20th anniversary of the theater foundation, Yura produced the legendary "Stolen Happiness" by I. Franko. In 1946, Konstantin Khokhlov revealed the drama of A. Chekhov to the Ukrainian theater, staging "Cherry Orchard" at Franko Theater.
The classics kept on saving the theater from degradation: Yura was working on updated versions of "Martin Borulli", "Auditor", "Shvejk", which had been his mascot since 1928. The monument in the park near the theater immortalizes Gnat Yura’s Svejk.
1940 – the theater received the academic title.
1941-1944 – the company worked, while being evacuated to Semipalatinsk and Tashkent.
B. Nord, B. Tyagn, B. Balaban, V. Vasiliev, M. Krushelnytsky, V. Ivchenko, V. Gakkebusch worked at the theater in the postwar period; V. Ogloblin, V. Krainichenko, V. Kharchenko – since the 1950s; D. Aleksidze, V. Sklyarenko, D. Lyzogub, B. Meshkis, O. Barseghyan, D. Tchaikovsky, P. Morozenko, S. Korkoshko – since the 1960s, S. Smiyan and others – since the 1970s. Scenography and music solutions of the plays have traditionally been and remain a strong point of the creative work of Franko Theater. These are the works of the artists: M. Drak, V. Mellear, A. Petrytsky, D. Leader, A. Aleksandrovich-Dochevsky (the main artist of the theater), as well as music by composers: N. Pruslin, Y. Mateus, I. Shamo, I. Post, L. Revutsky, O. Bilash, M. Skoryk and others.
In 1978-2001, the theater was headed by Sergiy Danchenko. At that time, Bogdan Stupka, Bogdan Benyuk, Anatoliy Khostikoyev, Natalya Sumskaya, Larysa Kadyrova, Les Zadneprovsky, Alexei Bogdanovich, Iryna Doroshenko Vasiliy Mazur, Lyudmila Smorodina, Stanislav Stankevich, Les Serdyuk, Mikhail Kramar and many others were the cast of the theater. "Fear of risk leads to averaging out the art. this is a danger, the theater is a living organism, and nothing can be saved by beating about the bush. No manifests are needed, there should be performances. They are the only purpose and means of progress."
Sergiy Danchenko followed these words and achieved significant results. The first productions made people talk about the revival of the First Scene of Ukraine. Here he introduced the Ukrainian stage to the drama of F. Durrenmatt, G. Ibsen, introduced the moral and aesthetic circle of the Ukrainian theater to A. Chekhov (in 1980, the performance "Uncle Vanya" was awarded the State Prize of the USSR), repeatedly appealed to the drama of W. Shakespeare, found proper, nervously penetrating forms of stage reading of Mykola Khvylovy's prose. He captured people with the national theater element of I. Kotlyarevskyi's "Aeneis". The story of Tevye the Milkman, with which the whole world was familiar, acquired the status of a cosmic narrative about the search for the harmony of being (Tevye-Tevel by Sholem Aleichem 1993 – Taras Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine).
Since the early 1990s, the theater has been actively putting its work in the European cultural context – it tours in Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy, Poland, the United States, where the work of the Franko Theater artists is appreciated as it’s supposed to be.
Since 1992 – Myhailo Zakharevich has been the CEO of the Theater.
The decree of the President of Ukraine dated October 11, 1994, granted the status of the National Theater.
From the end of 2001 to 2012 the theater was headed by Hero and People's Artist of Ukraine Bogdan Stupka. Continuing and developing the traditions estqablished by the glorious predecessors – the founder of the theater G. Yura and the long-term creative fellow S. Danchenko – Bogdan Stupka introduced the names, which were unusual for Ukraine, to the repertoire, including the classics of Ukrainian literature by G. Skovoroda ("The Primer of the World"), G. Konysky "Tragedo Comedy about the Resurrection of the Dead"); introduced the ancient Indian culture ("Shyakundala" by Kalidasi), the work of the Polish classic of the 20th century S. Vitkevich ("Mom, or Unspecified Creation ..."); brought Sophocles and F. Dostoevsky ( "King Oedipus "The Brothers Karamazov") back on stage. In an effort to expand the artistic palette of Franko Theater, Stupka invited to stage directors with completely opposite artistic principles. Directors from Russia, Poland, Georgia, and Canada co-operated with the theater.
The theater becomes a full member of the International Theater Institute, thus contributing to the popularization of Ukrainian theatrical art in the world.
"And today we have no moral right to cross out, erase from memory everything created by the luminaries of this scene, but on the contrary, we must accomplish what they didn’t. The future of our theater in 40, 50, 100 years depends on us, on everyone. The way we will be remembered by the coming generation.” B. Stupka
On March 19, 2012, the Chamber Scene, named after Sergyi Danchenko, was opened. On October 19, 2013, the monument of the Artist was erected (Volodymyr and Andriy Chepeliki were the sculptors), near the Chamber Scene
During the period from 2012 to 2017, the artistic director of the theater was Stanislav Moiseyev.
Today, the general director and artistic director of the theater is Myhailo Zakharevich (since 2018), the principal director is Dmutro Bogomazov (since 2017). Directors Petro Ilchenko, Yuriy Odinoky, Andriy Prykhodko, Dmitry Chiropyuk, David Petrosyan work full-time at the theater.
Since 2004, the International Theater Festival of Women's Mono Performances "Maria" has been held annually in the theater's space.
The theater is located in a park area next to the Bankova Street.
- Gnat Yura - 1920-1964
- Marian Krushelnitsky - 1954-1956
- Vasyl Kharchenko - 1956-1957
- Volodymyr Sklyarenko – 1962
- Yevhen Ponomarenko - Chairman of the Editorial Board - 1965-1966
- Dmitry Aleksidze - 1966-1969
- Sergey Smiyan - 1970-1978
- Sergey Danchenko - 1978-2001
- Bogdan Stupka - 2001-2012
- Stanislav Moiseyev - 2012-2017
- Myhailo Zakharevich - 2018-...
Repertoire and structure
The performances of recent years are as follows: "Kaidash’s family" by I.Nechoyu-Levytsky, "On Sunday morning the potion was digging", "Earth" by O.Kobilyanska and "Crossroads" by I.Franko, "Idiot" by F. Dostoevsky, "Coriolan", "The Taming of the Stomach" and "Richard III" by William Shakespeare, "Frederick or the Boulevard of Crimes" by E. Shmitt, "Greek Zorba" by N. Kazandzakis, Beaumarchais "The Marriage of Figaro", "The Anthem of Democratic Youth" S. Zadana, A. Chekhov's "Seagull", "Morituri te salutant" based on Stefanik's novels, Peter Kwilter's "The incomparable", and Gregory Horin's "Kean IV ".
A complete list of current and archival performances is presented on the theater site.
The theater company is considered to be the best in Ukraine; such artists as Vasyl Basha, Bogdan Benyuk, Alexei Bogdanovich, Anatoliy Hnatyuk, Irina Doroshenko, Alexander Zadneprovsky, Volodymyr Kolyada, Polina Lazova, Vasyl Mazur, Petro Panchuk, Alexei Petukhov, Lyudmila Smorodina , Ostap Stupka, Natalia Sumska, Anatoly Hostikoyev, Galina Yablonskaya are the actors of the theater.
The creative team of the theater also includes a ballet company, choir and orchestra.
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