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Балет «Анастасия» в Большом театре оперы и балета Беларуси. Фото театра
Балет «Анастасія» ў Вялікім тэатры оперы і балета Беларусі. Фота тэатра
Ballet "Anastasia" in the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater of Belarus. Theater Photo
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"Иоланта" в замке Радзивиллов. Фото А. Дидевича. БЕЛТА
"Іаланта" у замку Радзівілаў. Фота А. Дидевича. БЕЛТА
"Iolanta" in the Radziwill castle. Photo by A. Didevich. BELTA
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Балет «Анастасия» в Большом театре оперы и балета Беларуси. Фото театра
Балет «Анастасія» ў Вялікім тэатры оперы і балета Беларусі. Фота тэатра
Ballet "Anastasia" in the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater of Belarus. Theater Photo
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Национальный академический Большой театр оперы и балета Беларуси. Фото А. Стасевича. БЕЛТА
Нацыянальны акадэмічны Вялікі тэатр оперы і балета Беларусі. Фота А. Стасевіча. БЕЛТА
Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater of Belarus. Photo by A. Stasevich. BELTA
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Cпектакль "Павлинка" в Национальном академическом театре им. Янки Купалы. Фото Е. Гараевой. БЕЛТА
Cпектакль "Паўлінка" ў Нацыянальным акадэмічным тэатры імя Янкі Купалы. Фота К. Гараевай. БЕЛТА
Performance "Paulinka" at the National Academic Theater named after Yanka Kupala. Photo by E. Garayeva. BELTA
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Гомельский областной драматический театр. Фото С. Холодилина. БЕЛТА
Гомельскі абласны драматычны тэатр. Фота С. Халадзіліна. БЕЛТА
Gomel Regional Drama Theater. Photo by S. Kholodilin. BELTA
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Cпектакль "Пинская шляхта" в Национальном академическом театре им. Янки Купалы. Фото Г. Жинкова. БЕЛТА
Cпектакль "Пінская шляхта" ў Нацыянальным акадэмічным тэатры імя Янкі Купалы. Фота Г. Жынкова. БЕЛТА
Performance "Pinsk gentry" at the National Academic Theater named after Yanka Kupala. Photo by G. Zhinkov. BELTA
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Национальный академический театр им. Янки Купалы. Фото Г. Жинкова. БЕЛТА
Нацыянальны акадэмічны тэатр імя Янкі Купалы. Фота Г. Жынкова. БЕЛТА
National Academic Theater named after Yanka Kupala. Photo by G. Zhinkov. BELTA

Theater

Origins of the Belarusian theater lie in popular rites and games, in creations of wanderer actor-skomorokhs. In the 16th century the "Batleika" puppet theater appeared. In the 16th–18th centuries school theaters and in the 16th–20th centuries popular drama became widespread. In the 18th–first half of the 19th centuries private theaters worked in cities and estates.

The most famous of them are Radzivill theaters in Nesvizh and Slutsk, Zorich theater in Shklov, Tisengaus theater in Grodno, Sapega theater in Ruzhany, Oginsky theater in Slonim, etc. The majority of theaters had ballet, opera and drama troupes, orchestras, quires, theater buildings with well-equipped stages, as well as schools for future actors (Tisengaus music and theater school in Grodno, ballet schools in Slonim, Nesvizh and Slutsk).

Since 1840's the playwright, actor and producer Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkevich (1808–1884) began to create Belarusian professional theater. He wrote the libretto of the operetta "Magic Water", "Musicians Contest", "Jewish Recruitment" In 1852 he organized the Dunin-Martsinkevich Theater, which was the first Belarusian national theater of the modern type. The theater opened on February 9, 1852 with the play "The Sielanka" (staged by V. Dunin-Martsinkevich, music by S. Moniuszko, K. Kzhizhanovsky, etc.). The performance was solved in the genre of opera: arias, duets, choral numbers and dances were performed.

The early 20th century witnessed a revival of the Belarusian scenic art. The most popular performances were based on works by Kastus Kaganets (1868–1918), Yanka Kupala (1882–1942), Yakub Kolas (1882–1956), Konstantsiya Builo (1893–1986), Leopold Rodzevich (1895–1938) and others. In 1920 F. Zhdanovich (1884–1937) opened the first Belarusian State Theater (the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater at present). V. Golubok (1882–1937) opened the Golubok Troupe (late: the Third Belarusian State Theater).

In 1926 the second Belarusian State Theater (Nacional'ny'j akademicheskij dramaticheskij teatr im. Ya. Kolasa (the Yakub Kolas National Academic Drama Theater at present) opened its doors in Vitebsk. A significant contribution to the development of scenic art was made by playwright and director E. Mirovich (1878–1952). In 1930s the most successful stage productions touched on the themes of Belarusian folklore and classic drama. Among them the production of satirical comedy “He Who Laughs Last” by Kondrat Krapiva (1896-1991) staged in the present day National Academic Theater named after Yanka Kupala. In 1944, the premiere of the play “Pavlinka” written by Y. Kupala took place there and is successfully performed in our days.

Today there are 28 professional theaters in Belarus, 27 of them are subjects of the Ministry of Culture (2 musical, 18 drama and 7 puppet theaters), 1 is the subject of the Ministry of Defense (Dramatic Theater of the Belarusian Army).  There are 4 “National” theaters and 10 theaters awarded the honorary title "Honored Ensemble of the Republic of Belarus".

In 2016 the state theaters have showed 124 premiere performances of classical and modern Belarusian, Russian, foreign authors;  drama theaters have showed 103 premiere performances, puppet theaters - 25, music theaters - 11. The most interesting premieres are "Rigoletto" by G. Verdi and "The Queen of Spades" by P. Tchaikovsky, "Firebird" by I. Stravinsky and "Laurencia" by A. Krein at the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater; "Don Juan" by J.-B. Moliere at the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater and other.

Among contemporary Belarusian playwrights the most famous are A. Makajonak, A. Dudarev, A. Petrashkevich, N. Matukovsky, E. Popova, A. Delendik, P. Pryazhko, D. Balyko, D. Bogoslavsky.

The "Vitovt" ballet based on the A. Dudarev's work at the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater, the music for which was written by modern Belarusian composer V. Kuznetsov, was awarded the prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus A. Lukashenko “For Spiritual Revival”.

The work of contemporary Belarusian playwrights, both older and younger, is widely known: A. Makayonka, A. Dudarev, A. Petrashkevich, N. Matukovsky, E. Popova, S. Kovalev, V. Butromeeva, P. Vasyuchenko, A. Delendika , G. Marchuk, A. Kureichik, A. Karelin, D. Boyko, N. Rudkovsky, P. Pryazhko, D. Balyko, D. Bogoslavsky and a number of other talented authors.

Belarus regularly hosts various theater festivals and contests. The most remarkable of them include the festival “Slavonic Theater Meetings” in Gomel, “Belaya Vezha” in Brest, “М@art.contact” in Mogilev, the International Theater Forum “TEART” and the Belarusian International Puppet Theater Festival in Minsk and others. Minsk also hosts the republican contest of scenic art "The National Theater Prize".

The activity of country’s theaters is aimed at preservation of the best national scenic art traditions, popularization of world classical and modern theatrical culture.

Links to Internet resources:

List of state organizations accountable to the Culture Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus 

Belarusian State Academic Theater for Young Audience  

Belarusian State Puppet Theater 

The Belarusian State Youth Theater 

Belorusskij gosudarstvennyj akademicheskij muzykalnyj teatr (Belarusian State Academic Musical Theater) 

Belorusskij teatr «Lyalka» (Belarusian Theater «Lyalka»), Vitebsk

Brest Academic Drama Theater 

Brest Puppet Theater

Gomelskij gorodskoj molodezhnyj teatr (Gomel city youth theater) 

Gomelskij oblastnoj dramaticheskij teatr (Gomel Regional Drama Theater) 

Gomelskij teatr kukol (Gomel Puppet Theater) 

Grodno Regional Drama Theater 

Grodno Regional Puppet Theater 

Janka Kupala National Theater 

Minsk International Christmas Opera Forum

Mogilevskij oblastnoj dramaticheskij teatr (Mogilev Regional Drama Theater)

Mogilevskij oblastnoj teatr dramy i komedii imeni V.I. Dunina-Marcinkevicha (Mogilev Regional Drama and Comedy Theater named after V.I. Dunin-Martsinkevich), Bobruisk 

Mogilevskij oblastnoj teatr kukol (Mogilev Regional Puppet Theater) 

The Musical Theater «Rada» 

Nacionalnyj akademicheskij dramaticheskij teatr imeni Yakuba Kolasa (National Academic Drama Theater named after Yakub Kolas) 

Nacionalnyj akademicheskij dramaticheskij teatr im. M. Gorkogo (National Academic Drama Theater named after M. Gorky) 

National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus (Bolshoi Theater of Belarus) 

Novyj dramaticheskij teatr (New Drama Theater) 

TEART, international theater forum

M.@rt.kontakt @(M.rt.contact), international youth theater forum (Mogilev)