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Dukhnovych Theater/Teater Aleksandra Dukhnovicha (TAD)

Dukhnovych Theater/Teater Aleksandra Dukhnovicha (TAD) — professional theater based in Presov, Slovakia. Established in 1946 as the Ukrainian National Theater (Ukrains’kyi natsional’nyi teatr—UNT), the institution was intended to be a touring company to serve the cultural needs of Rusyn-inhabited villages in the *Presov Region of northeastern Slovakia. During its early years, the theater performed plays in both Ukrainian and Russian, but by the 1950s it accepted Czechoslovakia’s policy of Ukrainianization and for over three decades gave performances only in literary Ukrainian. During the 1960s and 1970s, many of its actors were sent to the Soviet Ukraine for training. In 1956, a separate company within the theater was created for song and dance known as the Dukla Ukrainian Folk Ensemble—*PULS.

The UNT/TAD has performed over 400 plays by local authors (both Ukrainian- and Rusyn-language writers), by classical Ukrainian dramatists, by Czech and Slovak authors, and by world classical dramatists. Beginning in late 1960s, there was criticism that the theater was unpopular because Rusyn villagers could not understand literary Ukrainian. By 1986, the first plays were performed in Rusyn, and in 1990, under the direction of Iaroslav *Sysak, the theater changed its national orientation. Renamed that year the Aleksander Dukhnovych Theater/Teater Aleksandra Dukhnovicha, its repertory since then has been entirely in the Rusyn language.

During the 1990s the Dukhnovych Theater worked closely with the *Rusyn Renaissance Society in Slovakia and since then has become a kind of all-Rusyn national theater, staging plays by Rusyns from countries other than Slovakia and performing with some frequency for Rusyns in Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. The company also operates an experimental theater, translates dramatic works from other languages into Rusyn, and has participated with its Rusyn-language repertory at theater festivals in Britain, Sweden, Spain, and Italy. Among the directors of individual plays have been: Iurii *Sheregii, Iosyf Fel’baba, Iurii Zahrebel’s’kyi, Ivan Ivancho, and Iaroslav *Sysak. Most of its post-1989 Rusyn-language repertoire has been staged by Vasyl’ *Turok-Hetesh. Popular actors have included Iosyf Korba, Aleksander Kucherenko, Anna Symko-Klets’, Mykola Symko, Pavlo Symko, Tamara Symko-Pazdernyk, Ivan Stropkovs’kyi and, during the Rusyn-language phase of the theater, Igor Latta, Vasyl’ Rusyniak, and Osyf Tkach.

Bibliography: Ivan Matsyns’kyi, ed., 10 rokiv UNT (Bratislava, 1958); Iosyf Fel’baba, ed., 25 UNT (Presov and Bratislava, 1971); Iurii Datsko, ed., Pionery ukrains’koho profesional’noho teatru v ChSSR (Presov, 1981); Iurii Datsko, ed., Sorok rokiv UNT (Presov, 1985).

Paul Robert Magocsi

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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