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I believe!


March 27th is traditionally the World Theatre Day. Over the course of its long history, the Belarusian theatre has seen lots of ancient folk ceremonies, strolling musicians, troupes for private courts and amateur theatre groups that existed in XIX-XX cc. where Minsk looks back at the history of the Belarusian theatre.  

Batleika came to Belarus in the XVI c. It was brought from Europe. One can come across such a type of puppet-theatre in other countries. It is a two-storeyed wooden box, which reminds of performance venue, or vertep. Such construction was invented in the XIII c. by Saint Francis of Assisi. Here, the nativity scenes were presented. But in Belarus batleika wasn’t associated with religion only, it was rather a folk theatre.

In the XVII c.
the Radziwiłł family founded the famous Smorgon Bear Academy. Here, bears were trained for 6 years. It was situated near the present-day Smorgon regional hospital. Here, special facilities and training grounds were built to train young male bears. Travelling minstrels, the first actors in our country, known from the XI c., were performing with them. Their shows were full of folk songs, dancing, proverbs and sayings.

Francesca Ursula Radziwiłł was the first woman playwright in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. She wrote over 16 comedies and tragedies, such as "Ingenious Love", "It’s God's predetermination", "Love is a biased judge", "The Amusement of Fortune", etc. She also tried to write opera librettos. Francesca was Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł’s wife. She was the head of Radziwill’s troupe for private courts since 1746. Francesca was unknown to general reader for a very long time. The edition of her works translated into Belarusian was published only in 2003.

In 1800
the Shklow theatre troupe, which was in possession of Semyon Zorich (one of the lovers of Catherine The Great), was passed to the Imperial Theatres of the Russian Empire ballet troupe. There were bond actors, singers, dancers and musicians in Zorich’s troupe. Ballet dancers were very skillful, as they were studying at special schools. Mythological pantomime, comedies and tragedies, allegorical ballets and comic operas were on the repertoire of the theatre.

National Academic Theatre named after Yanka Kupala is the oldest theatre in Belarus. At first, it was a provincial theatre constructed in 1890 by means of donations of citizens. The actors of the "First Belarusian Drama and Comedy Association" were performing at the theatre. These people made up the Belarusian State Theatre’s troupe, opened on September 14th, 1920. By the way, the First All-Belarusian Congress took place here. During the session, the constitutional Democratic Belarusian state was established.

There is only one opera theatre in our country — the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus. It is also the biggest theatre in the country. Its history dates back to the 1920s. Fragments from operas and ballets were staged at the first State Drama Theatre and the State Opera and Ballet Studio. The opera theatre itself was opened in 1933. By the way, the theatre building is the example of the Soviet Constructivism. It was designed by the renowned architect Iosif Langbard.

since 2011
The International Theatre Forum TEART has been held in Minsk since 2011. Here one may see the world’s best performances. Also, there are always workshops, open discussions and meet-the-artist events on the programme. By the way, there are lots of theatre festivals in Belarus, such as “Teatralny Kufar” – the International Student Theatre Festival held in Belarusian State University since 2004, “Belaya Vezha” – the International festival held in Brest since 1996, theatre parties held during “The International Festival of Arts” in Vitebsk etc.

XXI century
Nowadays, there are not only classical, but also modern Belarusian playwright’s performances staged in the theatres. For example, "Career of Doctor Raus" staged at The Republican Theatre of Belarusian Drama. This performance is based on the book of a young popular Belarusian author Victor Martinovich. Andrei Kureichik’s "Panie Kochanku", and “Submariners” staged at Gorky National Academic Drama Theatre and Yevgeny Cornyag’s “Interview with the witches” staged at the Belarusian State Puppet Theatre.


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