Kazakh Drama Theater

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kazakh Drama Theater


(full name, M. O. Auezov Academic Kazakh Drama Theater), organized in 1925 in Kzyl-Orda and opened on Jan. 13, 1926. It was transferred to Alma-Ata in 1928.

The company initially consisted of leading amateur actors of the folk theater, notably S. Kozhamkulov, K. Kuanyshpaev, E. Umurzakov, K. U. Badyrov, and Zh. Shanin. It later included actors who had been trained in the company or in drama schools in Alma-Ata and Tashkent and graduates of the Kazakh studios of the State Institute of Theatrical Arts (1938 and 1954).

The theater was first headed by Zh. Shanin, and its most successful productions were those portraying life in the old aul (village), such as Auezov’s Enlik and Kebek, Rival Wives, and Karakoz, all performed in 1926; Seifullin’s Red Falcons (1926); and Shanin’s Arkalyk-batyr (1927). Later plays dealt with the collectivization and industrialization of the country, notably Shanin’s The Mine (1930) and Mailin’s The Front (1931).

From 1932 to 1935 and again from 1937 to 1939 the theater was managed by the director M. G. Nasonov. During this time various works by Russian dramatists were staged, notably Gogol’s The Inspector-General (1936), Trenev’s Liubov’ Yarovaia (1937), and Pogodin’s My Friend (1939), as well as works by national playwrights, such as Auezov’s Night Thunder (1935) and Musrepov’s Amangel’dy (1937) and Kozy-Korpesh and Baian-Slu (1940). During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the theater performed, among other works, Auezov’s and Abishev’s patriotic play The Guard of Honor (1942), Musrepov’s A khan-Sere and Aktokty (1942), and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (1943).

In the late 1940’s and the 1950’s plays depicting life in the republic were staged with great success, including Friendship and Love (1947) and Envy (1955) by Abishev, Yesterday and Today by Khusainov (1956), Bloom, O Steppe I (One Tree Does Not Make a Forest) by Tazhibaev (1952, 1958), and Abai, based on the novel by Auezov (1949; State Prize of the USSR, 1952). Performances of Russian and West European classics, such as Ostrovskii’s Talents and Admirers (1949) and Storm (1950) and Moliere’s The Miser (1952), helped the company master the realistic method.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s the theater turned to historical themes, staging Chokan Valikhanov by Mukanov (1956) and Maira by Tazhibaev (1957, 1969), and its repertoire also included many works by young playwrights, notably Wolf Cub in a Cap Trap (1959) and In a Foreign Land (1968) by Mukhamedzhanov and Saule (1961) and Snowstorm (1966) by Akh-tanov. Plays by dramatists from other republics are regularly staged, such as The Maternal Field, based on Aitmatov’s work (1964), and Little Shoes by Faizi (1972).

In 1937 the theater was named the Academic Kazakh Drama Theater, and in 1946 it was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. In 1961 it was renamed the M. O. Auezov Academic Kazakh Drama Theater. The company includes (as of 1972) People’s Artists of the USSR Kh. Bukeeva and S. Maikanova and People’s Artists of the Kazakh SSR K. U. Badyrov, Sh. Dzhandarbekova, A. Dzholumbetov, S. Kozhamkulov, K. Karmysov, Sh. Musin, I. Nogaibaev, B. Rimova, M. Surtubaev, S. Tel’garaev, E. Umurzakov, and Z. Sharipova. The theater’s chief director is People’s Artist of the Kazakh SSR A. Mambetov.


L’vov, N. I. Kazakhskii akademicheskii teatr dramy. Alma-Ata, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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