Theatre Studies Department


Theatre Studies Department


The Theater Studies Department (until 2004 it was called the Department of Theater History) was founded at the Kharkiv Theater Institute during its foundation in 1944.

The opening of the Theater Studies Faculty alongside with the Acting Faculty was determined, first of all, by the understanding of the need to train highly qualified personnel of this profile in such a significant theater center, which Kharkiv had been since the first half of the 19th century, and at the same time, by the presence of significant traditions in the formation of theatrical thought and research work, which were formed here from the beginning of the 19th century due to the creative activity of G. Кvitka-Оsnovjanenko, Z. Кulchitckyi, А. Barimov, М. Chernjaev, and others.

The science of theater and critical thought especially flourished in the 20s of the 20th century, when Kharkiv, as the capital of Ukraine, was the center of the most significant art collectives, the major press, on the pages of which theatrical life was comprehensively covered, essentially every theatrical performance was reviewed, theatrical debates were organized, in which the following prominent theater practitioners and theoreticians participated: L. Kurbas, Y. Shevchenko, І. Turkeltaub, Ya. Mamontov and others.

At the same time, a number of theater educational institutions were opened: various theater studios, the Higher Theater Technical School (1921) and, finally, the Music and Drama Institute (1923), where such prominent scientists as Full Professor, Academician О. Biletckyi, Full Professors Ya. Mamontov, І. Turkeltaub, М. Voronyi, Y. Shevchenko worked, they not only ensured a high level of special theoretical disciplines teaching at performance faculties, but also, taking into account the absence of a special graduating department, they organized a research laboratory which was aimed at "preparing new personnel for scientific activity in the field of art". Thus, the newly created graduating department of the Kharkiv Theater Institute could rely in its activities on the significant achievements of its predecessors. In 1944 - 1945, the Theater Studies Department was headed by Full Professor S. Ignatov, in 1945-1947 by А. Rozenberg, Associate Professor, PhD in Philology.

A graduate of the Moscow State Theater Institute named after A. V. Lunacharskyi, a theater expert, PhD in Art Studies Arkadii Pletnov (1908–1978) greatly contributed to the construction of the Department as a scientific and methodological center. From 1947 to 1976, as the Head of the Department, he largely determined the main directions and level of its work. A. Pletnov worked a lot to increase the role and importance of scientific and methodical work, organizing annual scientific conferences, a scientific student society; engaged leading lecturers of scientific and theater institutions of Kharkiv in teaching activity at the Department.

From 1977 to 1994, the Theater Studies Department was headed by a well-known theater expert in Ukraine, Honored Art Worker of Ukraine, PhD in Art Studies, Full Professor Anatolyi Gorbenko (1921-1995). He carefully maintained the historical-research and critical traditions of the Kharkiv theater studies school, strengthened the Department's direct ties with theaters and mass media, and oriented it to a deeper interest in the development of national culture. The lecturers of the Department were always at the epicenter of the city theatrical life, often published reviews of performances and articles on the problems of the development of theatrical art in the periodical press, took an active part in the work of the Kharkiv Interregional branch of the National Union of Theater Actors of Ukraine and the theater criticism section.

Over the years, the following Full Professors worked at the Department І. Myklashevskyi, М. Samarin; PhD in Philology, Associate Professors S. Braslavkyi, І. Кaganov, D. Sоkolov, Ye. Pоlyanska; PhD in Philology, Full Professor Н. Logvinova, Laureate of National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine Award «Our Ancestry», which educated more than one generation of theater experts, actors and directors; Dr. habil. in Art Studies, Full Professor V. Аizenshtadt; Dr. habil. in Architecture, Full Professor V. Кravetc; Dr. habil. in Art Studies І. Zborovetc; PhD in Art Studies, Associate Professors V. Bukvin, А. Kulishenko; PhD in Philology V. Stеtcеnko, О. Tcibanyova; Lecturers Z. Smoktyi, Ya. Тeatralov, S. Hоdkevich, N. Rudova, V. Моrskyi, E. Rusabrov, N. Safronova, N. Suvorova, N. Bondareva, L. Phіlіpеnko, М. Tcurkan and others.

During the years of the Department's work, a methodology for the training of theater experts of a wide profile was formed; new courses of professionally oriented and general theoretical disciplines were developed. The Department becomes the center of research and methodical work on issues of theatrical art not only in the institute, but also in the city. Among the students of the Department are lecturers of higher educational institutions of culture and arts, managers of leading theaters, heads of literature departments of creative collectives, employees of the press, cultural management bodies, etc. Many of them became theater critics known both in Ukraine and abroad.

Among them there are Dr. habil. in Art Studies, Full Professor V. Аizenshtadt, PhD in Art Studies B. Pojurovskyi, Honored Art Worker of the Russian Federation V. Dubrovskyi, Honored Art Worker of Ukraine,  PhD in Art Studies, Full Professor A.Gorbenko. Representatives of the modern theatrical process are Associate Professor, Honored Art Worker of Ukraine S. Vasiljev, PhD in Art Studies V. Chechyk and others.

Since the end of 2022, the Department is headed by acting PhD in Art Studies, Laureate of the National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine Award in the field of theater studies and theater criticism, Laureate of the Municipal creative award named after G.F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko in the field of theater studies and theater criticism, the author of numerous scientific publications and four monographs devoted to the problems of the history and modernity of Ukrainian and foreign theater, Yuliia Shchukina.

Today the following specialists are working at the Department: Dr. habil. in Philology, Full Professor О. Каlenichenko; Laureate of National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine Award in the field of theater studies and theater criticism, Diploma Winner of the VI Regional Competition "Higher School of Kharkiv Oblast - the Best Names" in the nomination «The Best Head of the Department», Excellence in Education of Ukraine, Honored Culture Worker of Ukraine, Associate Professor H. Botunova; PhD in Art Studies, Associate Professor, Laureate of the Grand Prize of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration and the Kharkiv Regional Council in the field of "theatre art" named after Les Kurbas Ya. Partola; a well-known expert of theater festivals, Senior Lecturer О. Lybo; among part-time employees there are PhD in Art Studies, Associate Professor L. Меlnichuk; PhD in Philology, Associate Professors А. Тymchenko and H. Savchuk; Laureate of the Municipal Creative Award named after G.F. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko in the field of theater studies and theater criticism, a well-known theater critic and journalist О. Аnnichev; Laureate of regional and municipal prizes and festivals in the field of journalism, Head of the Literature Department of the Kharkiv National Theater of Opera and Ballet named after М. Lysenko, Senior Lecturer І. Lobanova; Head of the Literature Department of the Kharkiv Academic Puppet Theater named after V. Аphаnasyev, Senior Lecturer O.Dorofieieva.

In recent years, at the initiative of the Theater Studies Department, the University concluded agreements on creative, scientific and methodical cooperation with relevant universities in Lviv (Lviv Ivan Franko National University) and Prague (Prague Academy of Theater Arts - DAMU). It makes exchanging scientific and creative experience for teachers and students of the respective departments in art higher schools possible. There are annual joint events (conferences, festivals, discussions of performances, round tables, etc.), the initiators or active participants of which are lecturers and students of the Kharkiv Theater Studies Department.

The Department also hosts thematic scientific and creative conferences dedicated to the anniversaries of prominent Ukrainian theater actors. Thus, in different years, conferences, dedicated to M. Kropyvnitcky, M. Starytskyi, К. Solenyk, G. Hotkevich, L. Кurbas, М. Kulish, А. Pletnov as outstanding figures of the Ukrainian theater, were held. Thematic conferences are as follows: All-Ukrainian scientific and practical conference "Lesia Ukrainka at the Crossroads of Cultures and Times" (2021, jointly with V. Karazin KhNU, the State Museum of Books and Printing), Scientific and Practical Forum "Lesia Ukrainka and Theater" within the Cultural and Educational Project "Follow the Ways of His Sprit". Lesia Ukrainka: a View from the East" (2021), All-Ukrainian scientific conference "The Missing Vynnychenko: the Migure of the Artist in Literature, Theater, History, Politics and Journalism" (2015, jointly with V. Karazin KhNU), International scientific conference "Les Kurbas in the Context of World and National Culture" (2012, jointly with National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine), International scientific conference "Avant-Garde of the 20-30s and Modern Theatrical Process" (2010, jointly with National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine) and others.

At the initiative of the Department, an annual scientific and practical conference, dedicated to the memory of a theater critic, educator, publicist Evheniy Rusabrov, is held jointly with the Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Music History - International Cherkashin Readings.

Every year, the lecturers of the Department are members of the jury at various All-Ukrainian and regional festivals and competitions, participate in television programs devoted to the problems of history, theory of theater and modern processes taking place in European and Ukrainian theater sphere.

Looking for new forms that would stimulate the student to historical, theoretical and practical work in theater studies, every year the Theatre Studies Department encourages students to participate in various inter-university (including international) scientific student conferences and readings. Among them are the annual scientific and creative conference of students and masters (Kharkiv I.P.Kotlyarevsky National University of Arts) and the traditional International Theater Studies, scientific and creative conferences at Ivan Franko Lviv National University and others.

There is a student discussion club at the Department, where topical issues of theatrical art, individual performances and the work of modern actors and directors are discussed, and interesting meetings are held involving famous critics, directors, and actors. Theater studies students traditionally participate in theater festivals, oral review competitions, numerous forums, festivals and competitions. They are participants and winners of the annual Inter-University "Art Journalism" competition.