Yerevan State Pantomime Theatre

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The scene from the performance "Book of Flowers", the Los Angeles Central Library, 2012.

Yerevan State Pantomime theatre was founded in 1974. The status of the State Theatre received in 1983. Not having own building, theater performances are presented in Yerevan State Youth Theatre, the lease basis. In the summer of 2012, the Municipality of Yerevan, made decision to provide space in North Avenue for the construction of the building for the theatre. [1]։

History of the theatre[edit]

A student of Moscow State Institute of Theatre Arts Henrik Poghosyan, being attracted by the genre of pantomime, established “Tushpa” theatrical group and by his program of etudes became a laureate of Republic Student Spring Festival of 1969. The theatre enacted in the House of Art Employers of Armenia. Paruyr Sevak's “Unceasing Belfry”, H. Poghosyan's “Move It, Time!” and other performances were staged. University of Culture Arsen Polandov. A. Polandov had already graduated from two-year classes of pantomime in State Institute of Cinema, which was led by the famous Russian mime A. Rumnev who was considered to be one of the best specialists of pantomime. Later, when H. Poghosyan left the theatre, the group was separated, and Polandov that had already come to Yerevan had to begin everything from the beginning. The theatrical group, which rapidly and completely renewed its stuff including Nune Oganezova, Samvel Aghabalyan, Levon Ivanyan, Levon Hovsepyan, Karine Shahinyan, Ruzan Banduryany, Stepan Shahinyan and others, staged William Saroyan's novel “Hunger” and a series of etudes. In 1972 in order to stage a performance H. Poghosyan invited a student from the faculty of directory of Moscow University of Culture Arsen Polandov. A. Polandov had already graduated from two-year classes of pantomime in State Institute of Cinema, which was led by the famous Russian mime A. Rumnev who was considered to be one of the best specialists of pantomime. Later, when H. Poghosyan left the theatre, the group was separated, and Polandov that had already come to Yerevan had to begin everything from the beginning. The theatrical group, which rapidly and completely renewed its stuff including Nune Oganezova, Samvel Aghabalyan, Levon Ivanyan, Levon Hovsepyan, Karine Shahinyan, Ruzan Banduryany, Stepan Shahinyan and others, staged William Saroyan's novel “Hunger” and a series of etudes. In 1974 on May 18 in the presence of the Fine Arts Council of Ministry of Culture of Armenia and also the famous cultural figures the theatrical mime group presented the first and complete performance, becoming a professional collective and being included in ArmConcert. And 1974 is considered to be the year of Pantomime Theatre establishment. In its first program the style of the theatre was evident. Later, several performances and etudes were staged, such as “Heroic Ballad”, “Stone, Eagle and Man”, “Blinds”, “The Robber and the Child”, “Autumn”, “Virus of Laugh” etudes and Saroyan's “Who is there?”, Gogol's “Overcoat” performances.

State status[edit]

Nevertheless, the greatest event in the biography of the theatre happened in 1983, when the theatre got state status. The State, particularly the Ministry of Culture took under its protection the further activities of Pantomime Theatre providing the development of pantomime as a genre in general. Nevertheless, a most important problem remained unsolved. The problem of a necessary territory for the unobstructed and uninterrupted activities of the Theatre was solved partly. For a theatre that has a repertory and does not have a territory it is extremely difficult to plan further activities. Even not having necessary working conditions, the theatre went on with its triumph: performances, tours, festivals. As a result of researches of roots of Armenian pantomime experiences were realized in order to find new expressive ways of presentation. And one remarkable example of such an experience is especially actor Levon Ivanyan's mimodrama based on P.Sevak's poem “And a Man Named Mashtots”.

The theater after the declaration of independence[edit]

Biography of the theatre in a period of the Armenian independence was a very difficult one full of contradictions and changes. The confused social situation in the republic reflected on the theatre as well. Unexpectedly Arsen Polandov's health status grew worse. In 1993 by the suggestion of Arsen Polandov the art director of the theatre was appointed Yuri Kostanyan, who had begun his creative work in the field of pantomime still in the beginning of 70s; he was a student of legendary Modris Tenisons in Kaunas. A process like an exchange of generations begins and as any change it was accompanied with many difficulties. New young actors and stage managers are invited. Innovative and modern means of expression were chased in a creative sense. It becomes possible temporally to have a territory – the stage of the later Student Theatre of the Academy of Fine Arts. With the great efforts of Yuri Kostanyan and the whole stuff of the theatre the territory is being reconstructed becoming a little cozy theatre for the performances. However, the process of making performances began and was not finished. The different ideas of various stage makers only harmed the process of creating a new and inseparable character of the theatre. The only performance with new stuff and new style was Yuri Kostanyan's “Awaken Dream”. In May 1998 by the offer of Yuri Kostanyan Zhirayr Dadasyan is appointed the art director of the theatre. This period is distinguished by the affirmation of new means of expressions and forming of the repertory. The theatre began performing on tours abroad: Germany, Georgia, Egypt, Iran, Libya, etc.

International Festivals[edit]

Nazenik Festival[edit]

In 2001 the theatre organizes Nazenik International Festival which was the first international theatrical festival in the period of Armenian independence. Famous Pantomime Theatres arrive in Yerevan from Moscow, Riga, Ljubljana, Ulan-Bator, Tbilisi, Irkutsk. Remarkable specialists of pantomime were invited to Armenia: Ilya Rutberg, Modris Tenisons, Hans Diter Ilgenen, Konstantin Kiriyak and others.

International Pantomime Festival in Tsaghkadzor[edit]

The statue of Leonid Yengibaryan in Tsaghkadzor

In 2008 the theatre organized International Pantomime Festival in Tsaghkadzor, which is taking place every two years, and in 2010 International Pantomime Festival of Thsaghkadzor was named after the great mime Leonid Yengibarov. In 2012 in the scope of International Pantomime Festival the bronze statue of famous artist L. Yengibarov was opened in the central square of Tsaghkadzor. In 2014 was held 4th International Mime Festival and in the program were included illusionists, living statues and sand painting. In 2016 Yengibaryan International Mime Festival will be held in August. And it will already be organized annually.

Repertory of Theatre[edit]

  • “Spirit of Throne” (2015) /Director: Yuri Kostanyan/
  • “Goat-Rite” (2014) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “Soul of Chair” (2012) /Director: Yuri Kostanyan/
  • “Sonnet N 90” (2010) /Director: Yuri Kostanyan/
  • “Ardalion” (2009) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “Flowers' Manuscript ” (2008) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “Demon” (2007) /Director: Yuri Kostanyan/
  • “Sheranik” (2005) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “Metamorphose” (1999) /Director: Yuri Kostanyan/
  • “Flowers of Evil” (1998) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “How to Paint a Bird” (1998) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “Butterflies” (1997) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “The Game” (1996) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/
  • “Eagles” (1994) /Director: Zhirayr Dadasyan/

Tours of Pantomime Theater[edit]

  • 2016 - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Republika Srpska - Banja Luka
  • 2015 - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Republika Srpska - Banja Luka/ Georgia - Tbilisi/ Serbia -
  • Belgrade/Georgia - Tbilisi/Germany – Bremen
  • 2014 - Turkey - Istanbul/ Iran -Tehran, Kish Island/Turkmenistan - Ashgabat/ Poland -Wroclaw
  • 2013 - Thailand - Bangkok, Pattaya / Poland - Poznan / Germany - Bonn, Cologne / Russia -
  • Murmansk / Georgia -Tbilisi
  • 2012 - USA - Los Angeles
  • 2011 - Switzerland - Zurich

References[edit]

External links[edit]