Les Kurbas


The future actor, a talented theater director, playwright and translator born on 25 February 1887 in the small town of Sambor (now Lviv region) in a family of actors. His father, a person knowing that such a hungry life wandering actor, originally did not want his son to the repetition of his own destiny. Therefore, young Alexander (real name), before following in the footsteps of parents, received a decent European education, graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Vienna.

Upon completion of his studies, he begins to work in the theater Gnat Khotkevych “Ruska besіda”. But minor small roles heroic lovers are not satisfied with the ambitious young actor. So he moved to Ternopil, Kurbas collects stationary theater “Ternopil theatrical evenings” and takes on contemporary productions – Chekhov, Gorky.

In 1917 he was invited by Nicholas Sadowski move to Kiev, where at the moment the level of theatrical culture was significantly higher. Theatre Sadovsky was the first Ukrainian professional theater, and Kurbas did not hesitate to become a part of it. But it so happened that his acting career he sacrificed in favor of the director. Almost at the center of his attention and activity falls organization of young actors, which later develop into a young theater, the opening of the first season, which will take place in the theater Bergonie (today – the Theatre of Russian Drama named after Lesya Ukrainka) and will have a great success both with critics and at the public.

In addition to performances, Kurbas lot of time to and journalism. He became one of the founders of the “Theater News” magazine, “Barricades theater”, “Soviet theater”, where published and their articles too. In them, he makes reviews of the theatrical life in general, often it comes to the debate on the political position, and reflects a lot about the art of the future, about the identity of the theater and its development prospects, trying to attract the public to the contemporary repertoire and a new wave of literature.

In parallel, the studio develops programs of acting and translates plays for his theater. Interestingly, Kurbas perfectly knew eight languages, but Russian has never learned what has become a small obstacle, when he was in the Russian-speaking environment of the Kiev intelligentsia.

In 1919 he was part of the leadership of Opera “musical drama”. Here he meets a 19-year-old dancer Valentina Chistyakov became the future of his wife and main muse, his “dear Mrs. Lilly,” as he affectionately calls her letters

Лесь Курбас

Les Kurbas

During next year, Kurbas with the troupe goes on his first tour of Kyiv region with a newly created their theater “Kiydramte” ( “Kyiv drama theater”).

And in 1922 he organizovuet famous theater “Berezil”, which became one of its main achievements, and who had a great influence on the development of Ukrainian theater.

Since that time its close cooperation with Vadim Meller, who has served as chief artist, and Mykola Kulish – the main theater of the playwright. Even after moving to Kharkiv, their joint work does not stop.

Plays that are staged “Berezil”, unfortunately, were not accepted by Soviet critics. Kurbas began to accuse bending optimistic Soviet reality and nationalistic. It excluded from the theater administration and arrested in 1933. But even in a forced labor camp, Kurbas follows his vocation and business, which he loved and to which he devoted his entire life. There are, in conclusion, it creates a makeshift theater, which is valid until the retrial, the decision of which, in 1937, one of the most talented and influential representatives of Ukrainian culture Kurbas was shot.

His name was rehabilitated in 1957, along with other repressed. In 1989 Kharkov Ukrainian Drama Theater named after TG Shevchenko set a plaque in memory of the director. And one of the scenes of the theater again was named “Berezil”. Low birthplace, too, has not forgotten about his talented representatives. Lviv Academic Theatre named after Les Kurbas.


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