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National Academic Theatre named after I. Franko

TIn 1920 in Vinnitsa a small traveling troupe, headed by outstanding Ukrainian actor Ignat Petrovich Yura, was founded. The first play that was shown to the public was Sin by Vinnichenko. All the actors of the new troupe were rather young. And later many of them have gone down in history of the Ukrainian theatre. The troupe worked with enthusiasm practically 24 hours a day: only during the first season 23 new productions were shown. The theatre that newspapers praised "the theatre of the new age" enjoyed a great popularity. After three years of wandering the troupe at last was invited to Kharkov, then the capital of Ukraine, and given a permanent stage. This date marks the new period in the history of the theatre that had turned from a small wandering provincial troupe into a rather big capital theater.

In summer 1926 the theatre moved to Kiev and settled in the ancient building the theatre occupies nowadays. On the 30th of September citizens of Kiev could appreciate the play Vii, Ostap Vishni's interpretation of Gogol's play.

Ignat Petrovich Yura for more than 40 years (1920-1966) remained the artistic director of the theatre. The stability promoted forming of the recognizable theatrical style and repertoire. The theatre was based on the principles of realism and national roots.

The 1930s were the brightest pages in the history of the theatre. Such outstanding actors as Buchma, Uzhvy, Shumsky, Milyutenko, Dobrovolsky worked in the theatre during that period. The repertoire was enriched with such plays as Don Carlos by Shiller, Boris Godunov by Pushkin and Vanity by I. Karpenko-Karoy. But in the center of special attention were Ukrainian plays, among which one should mention Platon Krechet and In the Steppes of Ukraine by O. Korniichuk.

Even in the terrible war years the theatre didn't stop working. The actors toured round the USSR and gave performances to the soldiers who struggled on the front line and people living in the evacuation.
The actors of the Academic Theatre actively and very successfully worked in films. For example the film Rainbow, where Natalya Uzhvy played the part of partisan Elena Kostyuk, was awarded Oscar and was reckoned the classics of world cinema.

In the last decades the famous actors Stepan Olexenenko, Yulia Tkachenko, Stanislav Stankevich, Marina Gerasimenko, Natalia Lotozka and many others have come to the theatre. Many bright performances staged in this period will remain in the memory of theater-lovers for long.

In 1994 the theatre got the status of National Theatre. From that time it is known under its present name, the National Academic Theatre named after I. Franko.

Nowadays the theatre is headed by national actor of Ukraine, Bogdan Stupka, who was chosen an artistic director of the theatre after the tragic death of Sergey Danchenko, who worked in the theatre for almost a quarter of a century.

Since the early 1990s the theatre has toured a lot. People in Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy, Poland have had a possibility to familiarize with the Ukrainian theatre, and its performances have been highly appreciated.

The theatre cherishes the traditions of Ukrainian theatre but tries to combine them with the achievement of modern European drama. One the stage of the theatre one can see such plays as Inspector General (Revisor) by Nikolay Gogol and Carmen by G. Bizet.

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