Donetsk National Academical Ukranian Musical Drama Theatre

The Donetsk National Academic Ukrainian Musical and Drama Theatre is a theatre in Donetsk, Ukraine. It was founded in 1927 and was awarded national status in November 2009.  It has hosted the regional theater festival “Theatrical Donbas” since 1992 and the “Golden Key” open festival performances and concerts for children and youth since 1997.

The Donetsk National Academic Ukrainian Musical and Drama Theatre began in 1927 in Kharkov,[2] then the capital of Ukraine, with the creation of the Ukrainian Labour Theatre. Its purpose was to carry out cultural and educational missions in Eastern Ukraine. The troupe was formed from the actors of the Kharkov State Folk Theatre and the Berezil Theatre. The first director was А. Zagarov, who had studied with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. A year later, V. Vasilko, a student of Les Kurbas who later became an Honoured People’s Artist of Ukraine, was appointed the art director.

In 1933, at the invitation of the People’s Commissariat of Education of Ukraine, the creative team was transferred to Donetsk (then Stalino), where the first season opened on November 7, 1933, with the premiere of I. Mikitenko’s play The Bastille of the Virgin.

During its first 10 years the theatre visited the main cities of the Donets Basin (Voroshilovgrad, Mariupol, Gorlovka, Donetsk, Makiivka and Slavyansk) and also travelled outside the region, to Baku, Minsk, Vitebsk, Gomel, Mogilev, Leningrad, Rostov-on-Don and Kiev.

After the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, the theatre was not completely evacuated. Most of the members went to the front. A small group of actors joined the Artyomovsk Theatre and were evacuated to Kyzylorda, Kazakh SSR. Another, somewhat bigger group joined the Stalin Drama Theatre in Horlivka on their way to Central Asia and worked in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyz SSR. After the liberation of the Donets Basin in January and March 1944, both troupes returned to Stalino.

On September 28, 2001, the Theatre was granted Honorary Academic status, and on November 26, 2009, a Presidential Decree granted it National status.

The theatre has its own professional orchestra directed by chief conductor Ye. Kulakov, a group of artists and singers under the leadership of choirmaster T. Paschuk, and a professional ballet group led by chief choreographer Vladimir Maslov. Several People’s and Honoured Artists of Ukraine work in the troupe.