Olga Demidko


The article deals with the features of theatre culture formation in North Priazovye in 19th century. The theatrical life of North Priazovye has not been investigated yet as an original art phenomenon, and therefore, it demands the detailed studying. The main purpose of the article is to research the features of formation of North Priazovye basing on examples of theatres of Mariupol and Berdyansk during XIX c. Besides that point, one more our task is also to analyze the repertoire, the profit and contribution of guest touring troupes, the degree of interest and attendance of the theatre in Mariupol and Berdyansk. The information was collected from literature, newspapers, playbills and funds of local lore museums.

The study showed that the difficult conditions of social and economic life of the Ukrainian people affected on the cultural development of North Priazovye during XIX century. For a long time, there wasn’t any stationary theatre in the region. At the beginning of the XIX century, the presence of guest touring troupes has become the significant factor of the formation of theatrical culture in Mariupol and Berdyansk. The first guest touring theatre has appeared with lots of professional actors in Berdyansk, 1845. And in Mariupol the first theatre performance was presented to see it in 1847. It is necessary to emphasize that the theatre troupes from other cities have become to show up more and more often in the region. For several years, the theatre has become the centre of culture of citizens’ life in Mariupol. One Mariupol merchant, N. Popov, opened his own theatre accommodation, which could make profit up to 300 rubles.

The process of opening the theatre in Berdyansk was an important part for the development of the cultural area of the region. The building of the Berdyansk theatre was built in the best architectural traditions. On the opening day, the theatre was filled with spectators. However, the performance of the troupe’s ensemble and theatre’s orchestra were quite weak. Soon, theatre business of Berdyansk considerably was improved due to the activity of Mr. Markov, new impresario. The prevailing performances in theatres’ repertoire of North Priazovye were Russian ones. The audience of Mariupol could watch genius works written by N.Gogol, A.Griboedov, A.Pisemsky, A.Ostrovsky and also plays created by W.Shakespeare and F.Schiller.

The charity activity of Berdyansk theatre workers developed actively. However, quite insignificant part of funds were sent to poor and other was spent on various devices of amateur rehearsals, music, scenery and other theatrical accessories. It was connected with the fact, that the work of theatres was constructed on public starts. They rarely could get a salary. Ordinal performances didn’t raise but the third part of the money, which were brought by charitable performances.

In 1878, V. Shapovalov created the first professional troupe in Mariupol. It consisted of many quite talented actors, who worked in that theatre cast troupe.

A new theatrical season of 1887 in Berdyansk began with the problems connected with public. The audiences indifferently behaved to the theatre, theatricals were several times put aside in connection with the shortage of funds.

At the same time the Mariupol impresario, V. Shapovalov, continued to make enormous efforts for the

construction of own theatre. Despite financial complications, due to persistent labor in 1887, V. Shapovalov realized his dream into reality – he constructed theatre and called it as "concerto hall".

If there was a high level of attendance observed in Mariupol, then in Berdyansk impresarios and artists quite often grumbled on bad collections, indifference of public to the theatre or cooling to the art. If there was a high level of attendance of theatre in Mariupol, then in Berdyansk often complained about indifference of public and bad attendance.

Special place in theatrical life of Mariupol at the end XIX of century occupied the Ukrainian musically-dramatic theatre. Habitants of city due to the guest performances of great masters of the Ukrainian stage as M. Kropivnitski, P. Saksaganski, I. Karpenko-Kary, and M. Sadouskaya-Barilotti had the opportunity to become familiar with national theatrical dramatic art. V. Shapovalov managed a theatre in Mariupol during eight years and made everything’s possible for development and success of theatrical business of city.

The study showed that the leading types of dramatic art in a region were musical (opera, vaudeville, musical drama and comedy) and dramatic (tragedy, comedy, drama). The results of the study showed that the features of initial period of activity of theatrical establishments in Mariupol and Berdyansk became: permanent presence of touring troupes in the region, musical and entertaining direction of many theatricals, raising of theatricals of the Ukrainian, Russian and foreign classics, development of the amateur motion and active charity activity of actors.


theater culture; North Priazovye; playbill; repertoire; tours