Turkmen Theater of Drama

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Turkmen Theater of Drama


(full name, Mollanepes Turkmen Theater of Drama), a theater organized in 1929 as an extension of a Turkmen drama studio in Ashkhabad. Since its founding, the Turkmen Theater has staged works reflecting the struggle of the Turkmen people for a new socialist society.

The most significant productions of the theater’s early period were Khaldurdyev’s No Kalym (1929), The Mutiny (based on the novel by Furmanov, 1932), Goldoni’s A Servant of Two Masters (1933), Gogol’s The Inspector-General (1934), Dzhabarly’s The Year 1905 (1935), Kekilov, Charyev, and Klychev’s In the Karakum Desert (1936), Kerbabaev’s Upsurge (1937), Kaliev’s Aina (1937), Trenev’s Liubov’ Iarovaia (1937), Kaushutov’s Dzhuma (1939), and Burunov and Amanov’s Keimir-Ker (1940).

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the theater staged works by Kerbabaev, Kekilov, K. M. Simonov, and other playwrights about the heroic struggle of the Soviet people against the German invaders. Later the company continued to build a national Turkmen repertory while also staging Soviet plays by authors from the fraternal republics, as well as Russian and world classics.

Notable productions of the theater since the war have included Mukhtarov’s The Family of Allan (1949; State Prize of the USSR, 1951) and The Thirties (1958), Ostrovskii’s A Profitable Post (1950) and Guilty Though Guiltless (1951), Shakespeare’s Othello (1954), The Gadfly (based on the novel by Voynich, 1956), Nazim Hikmet Ran’s Legend of Love (1957), Kerbabaev’s The Decisive Step (1957), Gamzatov’s Mountain Girl (1962), Der’iaev’s Fate (1962), Amanov’s Treasure Island (1969), and Kuliev’s The Emir’s Ambassador (1970). V. I. Lenin was portrayed in Pogodin’s The Kremlin Chimes (1959) and Man With a Gun (1970) and Atadzhanov’s The Kushka Fortress (1964).

The theater accepts young actors from the graduating classes of the studios of the State Institute of Theatrical Art (classes of 1941,1954,1963, and 1964), the A. N. Ostrovskii Tashkent Theatrical Institute, the M. S. Shchepkin Moscow Theatrical School, and the theater’s own drama studio. Participation in the Ten-day Turkmen Literature and Art Festival in Moscow (1955) and tours in Moscow (1959,1965, and 1974) proved important for the company’s professional development.

The Turkmen Theater of Drama, awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1949, was designated an academic theater in 1956 and was named in honor of the classical Turkmen writer Mollanepes in 1963.

As of 1975, the company included People’s Artists of the USSR B. Amanov, A. Durdyev, A. Kul’mamedov (also principal director 1963–74), and Sona Muradova. Other prominent actors are People’s Artists of the Turkmen SSR F. Alieva, S. Amangel’dyev, S. Ataeva, K. Berdyev, T. Gafurova, K. Durdyev, Surai Muradova, N. Soiunova, and M. Cherkezov and Honored Artists of the Turkmen SSR D. Ishankulieva, A. Kurbandurdyev, and O. Khadzhimuradov. A. Kurbandur-dyev became principal director of the theater in 1974.


Ben’iash, R. Turkmenskiigosudarstvennyi teatr. Ashkhabad, 1939.
Kerimi, K. Turkmenskii akademicheskii teatr dramy im. Mollanepesa. Ashkhabad, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.