Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre
Mogilev, Belarus, 7 Pervomaiskaya st.
Founding a theatre in Mogilev was initiated in 1880-s. The place for its construction had been thoroughly thought over. Finally a square at Muravievski park was chosen, taking into account that “it is the centre of Mogilev, and is easy to be reached from all parts of the city; besides, this building will become the real adornment of the city”. The theatre and city park, being situated near each other, “will attract citizens and provide amusement, including in summer time, thus giving possibility to get profit”.
In May 1888 the building of the theatre was sanctified. The first amateur performance took place on May 15; all tickets had been sold out in advance. Since then numerous companies from different theatres have performed here; more than 4,000 plays have been staged, and many great artists performed in them.
During 1928 – 1939 Mogilev theatre was directed by a talented Belarusian actor and producer V. Kumelski. He organized the Russian theatre, first in Belarus; later on it moved to Minsk. At the end of November 1945, the company of Gomel Regional Russian Drama Theatre joined the company of Mogilev Theatre. But in March 1949 this company was also broken up, and the majority of artists were sent to Brest Regional Drama Theatre. Since then and till 1953 there was no permanent company and director at the theatre. In 1954 the building was occupied by Pinsk Regional Drama Theatre, and the theatre got the name of Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre.
“Yaroslav the Wise” was the first play staged by I. Kocherga at the renovated theatre on October 29, 1954. The play enjoyed high popularity; during its first season 100,000 viewers attended it, including 16,000 – in the rural areas. According to different artists, Mogilev audience had always welcomed them cordially.
Since then the theatre was on the rise, repertoire become more diverse. Since September 1955 and during next 25 years the theatre was directed by A. P. Raevski. He directed 40 plays, and each of them was notable for special spiritual atmosphere, clear conception, deep psychological background, actors’ performance, original interpretation. Some of Raevski’s plays were on during many years, and were staged for more than 300 times. Among them were the plays of the Belarusian playwrights: “It happened in Mogilev” by E. Tarasov, “Three days and three nights”, “Amnesty”, “Ultimate authority” by M. Matukovski, and others. A. Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”, A. Ostrovski’s “Passionate heart”, F. Shiller’s “Intrigue and Love”, B. Shaw’s “The Millionairess” enjoyed high popularity, as well as different modern plays, including V. Rozov’s “Good luck!”, Edlis’ “June is summer’s beginning”, N. Ankin’s “Antonina”, A. Kolomiets’s “Blue lights”, V. Kataev’s “Day of rest”, etc.
K. Gubarevich’s “Headquarters” (1957) was awarded a premium at All-Union Contest that was dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Great October Revolution.
Many brilliant actors and actresses worked at the theatre. In 1956 M. Beriozkin joined the theatre’s company; among his numerous parts that of Zabelin in “Kremlin chiming clock” got the highest appreciation. Z. Molchanova who had come from Lenkom Theatre (Moscow State Theatre named after Lenin's Komsomol) in 1956 was also famous for a number of memorable parts.
In 1955 A. Rudakov started his successful work; his acting was distinguished by deep psychological understanding of a part. For the theatre’s development much was done by People's Artist of RSFSR N. Rodionov and his wife, Honoured Actress of Karelia ASSR, N. Fedyaeva, who joined the theatre’s company in autumn of 1957.
At the end of the 1960-s Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre was considered to be one of the best theatre’s of the BSSR due to its varied repertoire, topical plays, high level of direction and acting, as well as for following the traditions of deep psychological understanding of a part.
After V. Shutov, the theatre’s stage director, have left, there was a period of decline till 1980-s, though some worthy plays were staged.
The theatre’s activity contributed to development of the Belarusian dramatic art. Ten Belarusian plays were staged there during 1962 – 1970; among them are the plays of E. Tarasov, I. Isachenko, L. Karaichev, I. Shamaykin, A. Movzon, N. Matukovski, and others.
In 1970-s – 1980-s Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre got the second breath. Y. Kupala’s, V. Bykov’s, A. Petrashkevich’s, A. Delendik’s plays were staged in original interpretation. “Pavlinka” (1971) enjoyed high popularity. In 1972 “Sotnikov”, based on V. Bykov’s novel, was staged. It was for the first time when a prose was worked into a play. Tickets for plays directed by Y. Mironenko were always sold out long before the first night. The majority of them are considered to be of much higher artistic and cultural value then many modern ones.
In 1980-s theatre-goers enjoyed the talent and creativity of People's Artist of RSFSR N. Rodionov, Honoured Artist of BSSR V. Guzeev, Honoured Actress of BSSR N. Fedyaeva. The parts of the number of young artists (M. Yakimov, E. Dudich, A. Bobrovski, O. Mikheev, Y. Rudakov, G. Lobanock, and others) were also of interest.
The 1990-s, the years that followed the disintegration of the USSR and were marked by crisis in all spheres of life, became the years of hardships for the theatre. On the one hand, most people had little concern of going to the theatre as far as they tried to earn their living; on the other hand, quality of staging was going down. To satisfy the demands of audience melodramas and comedies were predominantly staged: “Blaise” by C. Magnier, “River in asphalt” by D. Lipskerov, “Fiancee from Paris” by V. Konstantinov and B. Ratser, “Tears and love” by P. Turini, “Laura” by G. Aru, and others.
In the beginning of the 1990-s the building’s reconstruction became the barest necessity. Thus, in February of 1992 the building was closed for reconstruction; the company moved to the opposite building an had to share it with Mogilev Regional Philharmonic Society.
In the 1990-s classical plays of foreign playwrights (eg., - “Inventive in love” by Lope de Vega, “Richard III” by W. Shakespeare) enjoyed the highest popularity. Plays by Jean Anouilh, D. Fo and other modern foreign playwrights were also a success. The play under the title “If I knew you would come, I would have baked you a cake” still has been very popular among the public thanks to E. Dudich and A. Piyanzin playing major parts.
During the last 49 years 320 plays have been staged at Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre; many of them have contributed to development of the Belarusian Theatrical Art. Many talented, devoted and creative actors and actresses have worked here, thus shaping the unique image of its company.
The beginning of the third millennium has been marked by reconstruction of the building, the revival of the theatre’s company and their creativity, as well as by searching for cultural and spiritual harmony and art expressiveness.
Little by little Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre won back audience’s favour. Though its repertoire satisfies different tastes, modern dramatic art makes up its heart. One may enjoy classical plays of A. Ostrovski, M. Gorki, A. Chekhov, Y. Kupala, etc. The plays of the Belarusian playwrights staged in the Russian language enjoy the highest popularity. By the way, the Belarusian plays make up about a quarter of all the plays staged. It should be noted, that Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre is mostly youth-oriented.
“Turandot” by K. Gozzi, “At sea” by S. Mrożek, “The Threepenny Opera” by B. Brecht and other plays of foreign authors are on the stage of the theatre. Mogilev theatre-goers are also fond of L. Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, T. Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”.
“Shakespeare company.by” should be mentioned among the recent and the most challenging projects of Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre. The performance under the title of “All plays by W. Shakespeare” directed by Y. Patsokha (Poland) introduces audience into all of 37 plays of the great playwright, but very briefly. It looks like a kind of comedy cabaret-theatre, but at the same time gives opportunity to feel Shakespeare’s genius. We must add, that all theatrical traditions of Shakespeare’s time are followed: three actors on the stage and all parts are played by men.
M. Lado’s play “A Very Simple Story” has unusual plot: it shows animals that can talk, and are often much more humane, than human beings themselves.
Since its first night in 2005 one of E. Radzinsky’s "light tragedies" has roused the interest and attracted audience by both its plot and playwright’s name – a famous author of a serious of TV-shows dedicated to different cultural and historical topics.
Jean Anouilh’s “Orchestra” is the latest premier of the theatre. This is a benefit performance of Honoured Actress of the Republic of Belarus Zoya Bursteva, one of the brightest and most popular actresses of Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre. To make their parts more convincing, actors and actresses learned to play music instruments.
Mogilev theatre works with different directors – Y. Natapov, A. Gartsuev, and others. The chief director of Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre Vladimir Petrovich has also staged many wonderful plays.
The repertoire of the theatre includes fairy tales for children, and a special project “Teaching ethics, aesthetics, and morality” that is held once or twice a week, and is usually full house. L. Gersh’s “These free butterflies” has enjoyed high popularity for more than two years already, and there has always been full house. In general, each year the theatre makes up 6-7 new productions, including one or two fairy tales and some Belarusian plays.
The theatre plays on tours and festivals, both in Minsk and different Russian cities and towns (Smolensk, Velikiye Luki, Saint Petersburg and others); its performances always enjoy popularity. The jury of “Sakavitsa-2001” Theatrical Forum in Molodechno awarded Grand Prix to a play “Tristan & Isolde” directed S. Kovalev from Mogilev.
Mogilev Drama Theatre established "M.art-contact" Youth Theatrical Forum. Ten theatres from five countries partook in it when it was first held for the first time in 2006; Grand Prix was awarded to the festival’s host-theatre for V. Astafyev’s play “I’m your fiancee”.
There is a drama school at the theatre; students of Mogilev college of culture named after N. Krupskaya often have practical training there; the most talented of them then join the theatre’s company.
The today’s company of Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre is represented by both talented young artists and Honoured Actors and Actress of the Republic of Belarus Zoya Bursteva and G. Belotserkovski, Honoured Actor of Russia A. Palkin, Honoured Actress of Bashkortostan L. Klimenko and others