(full name, Ianka Kupala Byelorussian Academic Theater), the oldest dramatic theater in the Byelorussian SSR. Founded in Minsk in 1920 under the name of the Byelorussian State Theater (from 1926, the Byelorussian First State Dramatic Theater).
Actors who had worked in the First Association of Byelorussian Drama and Comedy and in semiprofessional and amateur groups joined the Byelorussian Theater. During the period 1921–31 it was directed by E. A. Mirovich, who trained a generation of master craftsmen for the national stage. During its first few years the theater presented primarily historical and folkloristic Byelorussian plays—for example, Charot’s On St. John’s Day (1921) and Mirovich’s Kastus’ Kalinovskii and Masheka (1923).
The theater’s most important works are productions of plays from the national repertory. Its best productions included Romanovich’s The Bridge (1929), Kobets’s Guta, Chornyi’s The Fatherland (1932), Krapiva’s Partisans (1938) and He Who Laughs Last (1939), Ostrovskii’s Wolves and Sheep (1936), Samuilenok’s Death of a Wolf (1939), Gorky’s The Last Ones (1937), Kupala’s Pavlinka (1944), Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1946), Movzon’s Konstantin Zaslonov (1947), Makaenok’s Excuse Me, Please! (1954), Pogodin’s Kremlin Chimes (1956) and Third Pathetique (1959), Makaenok’s Levonikha in Orbit (1961), Leonov’s The Snowstorm (1965), and People in the Swamp, after Melezh (1966). The theater’s best works are distinguished by a profound lifelike psychological truthfulness, social incisiveness, and a fine feeling for ensemble playing. In 1940 the theater was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. It acquired the name of Ia. Kupala in 1944 and the title of academic theater in 1955.
Among the people who have worked in the Byelorussian Theater are V. I. Vladomirskii, O. V. Galina, G. P. Glebov, G. Iu. Grigonis, F. P. and I. F. Zhdanovich, V. N. Krylovich, L. M. Litvinov, B. V. Platonov, K. N. Sannikov, and B. V. Erin. As of 1970 the company included People’s Artists of the USSR P. S. Molchanov, L. G. Rakh-lenko, L. I. Rzhetskaia, and Z. F. Stomma; People’s Artists of the Byelorussian SSR M. S. Belinskaia, S. S. Birillo, Z. I. Brovarskaia, V. I. Dediushko, N. N. Eremenko, R. N. Koshel’nikova, G. K. Makarova, V. N. Pollo, S. M. Staniuta, V. P. Tarasov, and I. B. Shatillo. The chief director is Honored Artist of the RSFSR T. A. Kondrashov, and the chief artist is Honored Artist of the Byelorussian SSR A. B. Grigor’iants.
REFERENCENiafed, Ul. Belaruski teatr: Narys gistoryi. Minsk, 1959.
(full name, Iakub Kolas Byelorussian Dramatic Theater), one of the leading theaters of the Byelorussian SSR. It was founded in 1926 in Vitebsk with a troupe consisting of graduates from the Byelorussian Studio (Moscow, 1921–26). Originally its name was the Second Byelorussian State Theater.
Among the first significant productions of the theater were those dealing with contemporary themes, such as Lavrenev’s The Break (1928), Gurskii’s Stokers (1931), and Korneichuk’s Death of a Fleet (1935). Affirmation of realist trends in the work of the theatrical troupe was seen in the productions of Ia. Kolas’ works War on War and In the Thickets of Poles’e in 1937. The figure of Lenin was portrayed on the Byelorussian stage for the first time in 1938 in the production The Man with a Rifle, with P. S. Molchanov playing Lenin. Later in 1938 Gorky’s Petty Bourgeois was produced, as were Ostrovskii’s The Forest, Ibsen’s Ghosts, and Pogodin’s Kremlin Chimes in 1940. The central place in the theater’s repertoire is held by the national drama of Byelorussia and by works of Soviet Russian playwrights.
Among the theater’s significant productions are Vol’skii’s Nesterka (1941); Leonov’s Invasion (1943); Gubarevich and Dorskii’s Alazan’ Valley (1949); Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1946); Kupala’s The Ravaged Nest (1951); Gorky’s Enemies (1952); The Storm Will Come, based on Kolas’ trilogy At the Crossroads (1958); Danilov’s Levonikha (1960); The Wells, after Shamiakin (1961); Chornyi’s Fatherland (1966); and Shatrov’s The Sixth of July (1967). The best productions of the theater have been characterized by distinctive stage settings and vivid theatricality. Ia. Kolas’ name was added to the theater in 1944. Among those who have worked in the theater are M. S. Belinskaia, Ia. K. Glebovskaia, A. K. Il’inskii, E. I. Lagovskaia, N. B. Loiter, N. A. Mitskevich, L. I. Mozolevskaia, P. S. Molchanov, K. N. Sannikov, A. B. Skibnevskii, and Iu. B. Shcherbakov.
In 1970 the theater’s troupe included the People’s Artists of the Byelorussian SSR N. P. Zvezdochetov, E. P. Rod-zialovskaia, T. N. Sergeichik, A. M. Trus, A. G. Sheleg, and F. I. Shmakov. The chief director was S. S. Kazimirovskii, and the chief artist was People’s Artist of the Byelorussian SSR E. D. Nikolaev.