85th theater season

We didn't know it was impossible. That's why we did it...

In its recent history, the Frankivsk Drama Theater has a reputation as one of the most interesting theater groups in Ukraine. Today, under the leadership of Rostyslav Derzhypilskyi, a star team of actors works here including Irma Vitovska, Oleksii Hnatkovskyi, Roman Lutskyi, Ivan Blindar, Nadiia Levchenko, Mariia Stopnyk.

The theater has six stage areas – the main stage, the stage on the stage, the chamber stage, the basement stage, the border stage, the lobby stage and the unique experience of mastering non-standard locations, because the actors of the Frankivsk Drama Theater played performances on Mount Pip Ivan, in the Chornobyl zone, on the squares of small towns, in castles, museums and palace complexes.

The theater premises were built in 1980 according to a typical project (similar buildings may be found in Sumy and Simferopol) in the style of constructivism, which European architects call brutalism. However, among the theater team there is another term – “Hutsul modernism”, and it is absolutely justified, because the theater interior designed by local Hutsul masters received the highest honor of Ukraine – the Shevchenko Prize. And in 2019, Kosiv ceramics was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and in the lobby of the theater there is an exclusive ceramic panel in the style of Kosiv ceramics.

At different times, brilliant artists – well-known and less well-known – worked in the theater. In particular, the first conductor of the theater was the composer Yaroslav Barnych; the artists of the theater at different times were Milytsiia Symashkevych – a student of Vadym Mellier, the main artist of Les Kurbas theater “Berezil”, later – Danylo Narbut, the son of the legendary artist Hryhorii Narbut – the author of currency signs and postage stamps of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.

Ivano-Frankivsk Theater has always been noted for its unprecedented creative “explosions”, which from time to time reminded the Ukrainian cultural world of its active artistic position. The events of this kind at different times were “Roksolana” by L. Zabashta (director – V. Smoliak), which was shown 700 times, “Plakha” by Ch. Aitmatov, “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” by M. Kotsiubynskyi, “Judas Iscariot” by L. Andreev (director – I. Borys). And during the full-scale invasion of russia into Ukraine, the Theater, in addition to showing plays, created a humanitarian logistics center “Movement of Resistance – Movement of Help” to support IDPs and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In 2008, the Theater was headed by Rostyslav Derzhypilskyi. Having started his work on the stage trilogy after the works by Mariia Matios “Sweet Darusia”, “Nation”, “…almost never not the other way around…”, Rostyslav Derzhypilskyi reformatted the rhythm and style of the Frankivsk Drama Theater, which in the eyes of the creative community lost the status of “regional” and became a theater of national weight and all-Ukrainian sound.

Simultaneously, with the development of the theater according to the modern European standards and principles, the Theater also participated in the development of Ivano-Frankivsk as one of the most influential cultural centers of Ukraine (a number of high-profile events, the “Time of the Theater” festivals and the “Porto Franko” contemporary art festival). The Frankivsk Drama Theater is continuously involved in tours to different cities of Ukraine and abroad.

In his performances after the works by Matios, Stefanyk, Kotliarevskyi, Shakespeare, studies of Vincenz and Shukhevych, the director gravitates towards the conventional style of “soil symbolism”, i.e. his stage symbols and metaphors are not borrowed from the outside, not constructed on the bare city, but born and grown purely on national cultural soil, and it is this soil that imbues Ukrainian stage plots after the works of classics and contemporaries with life-giving energy. Without bold statements, Derzhypilskyi also professes the line of Les Kurbas in the Ukrainian theater of the 21st century – the line of Kurbas’ “figurative transformation”, which distinguishes the best stage projects of Western Frankivsk residents.

At the same time, the director Derzhypilskyi and his theater do not shy away from the capricious laws of the modern European theater. The ironic play of such laws and canons can be seen in R. Derzhypilskyi’s experimental productions: “Hamlet”, “Modigliani”, “Romeo&Juliet”. European in their external stage form and purely Ukrainian in their inner essence, these productions were highly appreciated by both Ukrainian and European theater experts. In particular, the outstanding British Shakespeare scholar Michael Dobson admitted that Ivano-Frankivsk stage version of the neo-opera “Hamlet” is among the best he had seen on the theatrical map of the whole world…

The development of a new Ukrainian theater in the new era is impossible without the formation of a creative group of theater brothers. Derzhypilskyi managed to create a troupe of stars, a troupe of leading actors and a team of like-minded people.

The Frankivsk Theater became an “open-door theater” for the most popular contemporary world and Ukrainian directors: Stas Zhyrkov, Maksym Holenko, Jules Audrey (chief director of the theater in 2018-2020), Roza Sarkisian, Mihai Tarna, Mariia Klechevska, Brazis Yokubas.

The program line of the theater in recent years is “Theatre in the access zone”. The theater tours both in Ukraine itself, exhausted by the war, and abroad, in the villages and towns of Prykarpattia, in the liberated cities of the war-scorched east, in the locations of the Armed Forces. The theater works with veterans and volunteers of the Ukrainian-russian war. The code of the creative and public mission of the theater is, first of all, Ukrainian patriotism, which does not involve any compromises.

In its 85th anniversary theater season, Ivano-Frankivsk National Academic Drama Theater named after Ivan Franko chose the European vector, inviting the best directors of Ukraine and Europe to cooperate.



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