About Theatre The Les Kurbas Theatre was founded in 1988 as the “Lviv Youth Theatre” by Volodymyr Kuchynsky and troupe of young actors and artists, seeking to create a new and challenging arena for theatre practice in the midst of a changing Ukrainian World. Their initial explorations in theatre gave voice to the silenced Ukrainian poets Vasyl Stus, Vasyl Symonenko, Lina Kostenko, and Ivan Svitlychnyi, and through this exploration, they began to resonate with their own distinctive voice. Since then their actor-centric theatrical exploration has evolved in response to personal and social history—from antiquity to present—in union with art, artists, other theatres, and a remarkably diverse span genres and authors. Poetry, mythology, novels, dramas, fables, philosophy and “texts for theatre” have all found their way onto their explorative playing fields through authors such as Ukrainka, Dumas, Skovoroda, Dostoevsky, Plato, Chekhov, Pirandello, Schmitt, Antonych and KLIM…. These works have been performed widely in Ukraine and the world over, and having been invited to numerous festivals and tours, they have taken home awards on many of these occasions. On their own home front, their more recently developed work based on Stus’ poetry, “Marko Prokliaty” became the recipient of the 2006 Shevchenko Prize, the highest honor awarded to the arts in Ukraine. Soon after this distinction, the theatre’s official cultural status was raised from being a “State Theatre” (the governmental status it received along with the name “Kurbas” in 1993) to “Academic Theatre”.
Since its beginnings the Kurbas Theatre’s focal point has been methodology-training based; Kuchynsky’s work with his actors has been a continuously evolving exploration of development through theatre practice. Towards this end the theatre has always had its own studio, which in 2001 became aligned with Lviv National University. Additionally it conducts the international workshop-festival, “Theatre: Method and Practice” which explores the theatrical approaches of differing theatres’ work, and participates in similar workshops and seminars within and beyond Ukraine. This includes working with Anatolii Vasiliev (School of Dramatic Art), Jerzy Grotowski (Workcenter), Wlodzimierz Staniewski (Gardzienice), Bill Reichblum (KadmusArts), Anne Bogart (SITI), Virlana Tkacz and Ellen Stewart (Yara/La Mama,) as well as many, many other individual theatre leaders and troupes that have been met over a 25 year way.
These festivals, tours, workshops and projects have allowed the theatre to grow its roots in Lviv and Ukraine, and travel the world with its fruits. Chicago, Paris, Cairo, Krakow, London, New York, Sibiu, Pontedera, Moscow, Buthriti, St. Petersburg, Lublin… the list is long, and its path has been well paved by the Les Kurbas Theatre’s supporters. The recipient of many grants, guests of many hosts and host of many guests, the theatre prides itself on its high-minded partners: its audience, whom Kuchynsky refers to as “an important member of the cast that has come to take part in the experience.” It also esteems its collaborators and benefactors, whose generosity has enabled this Ukrainian experience to be shared with a world audience.
Through all its years, The Les Kurbas Theatre has produced over 50 productions, raised several generations of actors—some of whom are still with the theatre, some of whom have gone on successfully to other theatres, and some of whom have created their own theatres. …And this influence is not just limited to acting. Others who have sojourned its halls have gone onto careers in music, directing, design, theatrical translation, journalism, art and television—all from the same grounding. For those who have remained, or just joined, their work today at 3 Les Kurbas Street carries on in what can be called its living legacy: continuing the search to develop. It was born in an uncertain time in Ukrainian history, and is the only theatre left standing from this time. This perseverance is a testimony to its evolution. In acting, directing and teaching. Indeed, the evolution of its theatrical “seasons” have become more like the cycles nature, seemingly drawn out of ancient Ukrainian wells to provide a sustenance to a modern Ukrainian voice and stage where work takes seed, evolves, flourishes, and returns itself to the well for the next cycle to take seed".
Julie-Anne Franko, Les Kurbas Theatre Dramaturg, 1996-2002
The Les Kurbas Theatre
- Artistic Director – Volodymyr Kuchynsky
- Acting Business Director – Mykola Bereza
Creative and Business Administration:
- Assistant to the Artistic Director - Andrii Vonorov
- Literary Manager/Public Relations - Martha Shvets
- Administrator - Daria Ckakovska
- Archivist - Pavlo Ilnytsky
- Accountant - Nadia Hurina
- Secretary - Lydia Koval
- Resident Lighting Artist -Petro Humeniuk
- Lighting Artist - Volodymyr
- House Manager- Ihor Kuchynsky
- Property Master - Iryna Kuchynsky
- Costumiere - Iryna Lysa
- Fairy Godmother - Halyna "Fujiyama" Honcharuk
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… - Myron Sosnytsky