Theatre Art


1923 - the Faculty of Performing Arts was opened at the Lunacharsky Studio Theater on the initiative of Professor Volodymyr Vilner, a famous theater and film director (who studied in St. Petersburg and Geneva). The Kharkiv Conservatory was transformed into the Music and Drama Institute (1923-1934), similar to the Kyiv Institute. Along with the name, the vocational orientation was changed and the the educational institution was structurally reorganized.

As a result of the reorganization, three faculties remained in its structure: in addition to performing arts, it had an instructional-pedagogical faculty and a composition-conducting one. The former consisted of three departments: drama, cinematography and choreography, where future drama and film directors, screenwriters, teachers and stage managers, rhythmic gymnastics specialists, and choreographers studied. Theater colleges continued to train actors.

In the fall of 1925, the newly appointed rector of the Music and Drama Institute, Professor Serhii Drimtsov, reported that after the entrance exams, 60 applications were submitted for 100 vacant places, and only 47 people were enrolled. Moreover, "most of the accepted students were from the drama department".

L.Kurbas, V.Meller


Y. Mamontov





The first masters of the Faculty of Performing Arts were prominent figures of Ukrainian theater - Doctor of Philology, Professor, lecturer in theater history Oleksandr Biletskyi; famous Ukrainian playwright, historian and theater theorist Yakiv Mamontov; actors Ivan Marianenko, Ivan Yukhymenko, Yona Shevchenko, as well as theater critic, Professor Isaac Turkeltaub, and others.

Later, in 1926, when the Berezil Theater moved to Kharkiv, the teaching staff was supplemented by actors who were students and associates of Les Kurbas.

Among them were actor Stepan Bondarchuk (Dean of the faculty in the 1928-1929 academic year), Professor, Head of the Research Department (early 1930s), Dean of the faculty (1929-1934) Hnat Ihnatovych, Borys Tiahno, and Volodymyr Mеller, who had already had teaching experience at Kyiv Music and Drama Institute), as well as actor, director and theater critic Vasyl Vasylko (later People's Artist of the USSR), Ukrainian actress, later People's Artist of Ukraine Liubov Hakkebush, stage director Les Dubovyk, and set designer Dmytro Vlasiuk, Marian Krushelnytskyi, one of the most talented actors of the Berezil, an unsurpassed master of internal and external transformation and later, director, theater critic, and teacher Volodymyr Skliarenko, actor, director, and teacher Roman Cherkashyn, director, theater critic, and teacher Mykhailo Verkhatskyi, who brought the "spirit of restlessness and reform" to the Berezil school of acting and directing.

In 1934, the music and theater institutes in Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Odesa ceased to exist in accordance with a resolution of the Council of People's Commissars on the reorganization of art education. As a result of this "reorganization," Ukraine was left with a few conservatories and only one higher theater institution, Kyiv State Theater Institute. When the capital of Soviet Ukraine was transferred from Kharkiv to Kyiv, the theater department of Kharkiv University (mostly senior students) was attached to this institute.

I.Marianenko with his students

L.Serdiuk with her students



The institute resumed its work in Kharkiv after the city was liberated from the German invaders in August 1943. The re-evacuated institute got the name of the State Institute of Theater Art of the Ukrainian SSR.

In 1945, the state decided to organize a separate Kharkiv Theater Institute. There were organized the departments of acting and theater studies. The first teachers were Ivan Marianenko, Valentyna Chystiakova, Les Serdiuk, Danylo Antonovych, and Arkadiy Pletniov (founder of the Department of Theater Studies).

In 1946, the Department of Stage Speech was opened, in 1947 - the Department of Drama Theater Directing, in 1973 - the Department of Acting and Animation Theater Directing.