"The theatre at Teatral'na" was at the core of our capital's cultural life back when there was no Teatral'na metro station or even metro, for that matter, in the city. Our theatre's history dates back to 1891 which is the date Mykola Solovtsov, a famous director, actor and theatre manager, founded the first theatre with permanent residence in Kyiv. Our theatre today occupies the same builing his troupe performed in back in the day. Known among historians first as "Bergonie's House", the theater got its current name much later, in 1941, when Kostyantyn Khokhlov's production of Lesya Ukrainka's The Stone Host took Kyiv by storm. It was such a success that it became a generational custom for the directors working in the theatre to produce their own version of the play.
Every generation has its own idols but we've always regarded with gratitude and warmth everyone who contributed to the theatre's success. Their names are well known, people collect postcards with their photos and their fame is unrivaled in the XX century: Mykhailo Romanov, Yurii Lavrov, Mariia Strelkova, Lubov Dobrzhanska, Mykola Svetlovydov, Eugenia Opalova, Viktor Dobrovolskyi, Viktor Khalatov. The next generation of big names: Oleh Borysov, Pavlo Luspekaiev, Kyrylo Lavrov, Mykola Rushkovskyi, Serhii Philimonov, Ada Rohovtseva, Valeriia Zaklunna, and Serhii Paradjanov's muse, Larysa Kadochnykova, who still actively performs. The elder actors who set the bar for everyone else and are examples to strive towards: Borys Vozniuk, Iryna Duka, Lidia Yaremchuk.
Mykhailo Reznykovych, a student of the famous Heorhii Tovstonohov, stepped up to take the helm of the theatre in 1994. During his almost 30-years tenure he has managed to build a truly European theatre around a powerful group of actors.
The theatre has always attracted strong directors, such as Kostyantyn Khokhlov, Volodymyr Nelly, Mykola Sokolov, Leonyd Varpakhovskyi, Heorhii Tovstonohov. The names of the now classical composers regularly appeared on the posters for theatre's performances: Borys Liatoshynskyi, Yurii Shaporyn, as well as of legendary scenographers, such as Anatolii Petrytskyi, Danyil Lider, Moritz Usmanskyi, Davyd Borovskyi. The latter has a museum space dedicated to him in the theatre building. In it one can trace the story of a common teenage boy struggling to make ends meet in the cruel post-war times; about how by chance he lands a job at one of the production departments in the theatre and later becomes a top scenographer renowned all across Europe. Together with Mykhailo Reznykovych he created 17 productions. Borovskyi's pre-production mockups are now treasured museum pieces.
Currently the theatre has three stages for performances: The Main, The New and The Stage Under The Roof. This allows us to have a wide-ranging roster of plays, from the classics (Shakespeare, Anouilh, Miller) to the modern works (Stevens, McDonagh, Caron), as well as contemporary productions of the classical Ukrainian authors: Shevchenko, Dovzhenko, Lesya Ukrainka.
We believe that theatre is beyond the confines of age, so we welcome with open arms audiences of all: children who are yet to start speaking properly but can recite their favorite fairytale play by heart, teenagers who are into modern works and all sorts of theatrical experiments, as well as seasoned academic theater connoisseurs.
Our diversity isn't limited to age either. And it's not just that the source material comes from the British, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, American, Canadian, Dutch, Irish, Israeli, Japanese, Romanian, Slovak authors. Wherever we are on tour, the audience is always packed full of people. London, Tel-Aviv, Munich, New Jersey, Krakov, Trabzon, the list goes on. One would think that due to the language barrier the drama would have a harder time touching the audience's hearts. Turns out it's the combination of the world-renowned psychological theater school and idiosyncratic Ukrainian theatre that helps our work to transcend all borders.
On Februrary 24, 2022, the life of our theatre, as well as of all Ukraine, was shattered.
On the first day of the war some of our colleagues took up arms and went to fight. Others formed a powerful volunteer movement, helping soldiers and victims of the war. Our theatre was the first to resume work soon after our armed forces routed the invading army from around Kyiv. While the city was adjusting to the transportation collapse, the curfew, the endless air raid sirens and rocket attacks, we were rehearsing and creating new productions, in concert with the spirit of our nation's perseverance.
The day of our Victory is coming. In the meantime, we continue to work, premiere new productions and have our theatre booked full as we write the book of our history.