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Online window from Yakutsk to the legendary Pike

As one of the oldest theaters in Yakutia - the Russian Drama Theater - helps talented applicants

Online window from Yakutsk to the legendary Pike

Alla Buzmakova

Actress of the Russian Theater in Yakutsk, curator of an acting studio for youth

Russian Drama Theater named after A.S. Pushkin in Yakutsk in 2020 will open its 130th anniversary season. Beginning at the initiative of the Russian intelligentsia in 1863 as the “Circle of Music and Literature Lovers”, in 1889 it was transformed into the Society of Dramatic Art Lovers. The charter of the Company in 1891 was personally approved by the Minister of the Interior of the Russian Empire.

Keeping the long-standing traditions of staging Russian classics, the theater tries to remain on the cultural agenda, paying attention to contemporary drama. Since 2008, the theater has been headed by Alexander Lobanov, a graduate of the Yakut branch of the Moscow Art Theater School. 

There is no such geographical point on the map of Yakutia, wherever the Russian Theater has visited. However, the collective has acted repeatedly beyond the borders of the republic. In different years, with performances, the artists visited the construction sites of Mirny, Vilyui HPP, BAM, toured in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Birobidzhan, Khabarovsk, Chita, Magadan, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The theater took part in many festivals - Yalta, Khabarovsk, in Yoshkar-Ola, Yalta, Odessa, Blagoveshchensk, as well as in the cultural program of the Earth Days Olonkho in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

The troupe has always grown with interesting graduates. In the Soviet years, theater courses came from Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, in the new history, the Moscow Art Theater School, the legendary Shchuk, and the Arctic Institute of Culture helped fresh staff. Someone was leaving, someone was related to Yakutia and stayed here forever.

Theater is a living organism, and now we understand that we really need young people. Therefore, we are very pleased that the rector of the Shchukin Theater Institute Yevgeny Knyazev responded to the proposal from Yakutia on targeted training of actors on a budgetary basis. Since the fall of last year, a studio for the preparation of applicants has started working in our country, since spring, classes have moved online due to the coronavirus. We help high school students of Yakut schools to prepare for admission, we want new talents to enter the renowned theater institute, and after graduation they would join the troupe.  

How many places will be allocated for the Yakutians - is now being discussed. The competition for the institute is high - up to 200 people per place, paid tuition costs 470 thousand rubles a year, so only the most gifted and persistent will get the chance to become a student of the legendary "Pike".          

It was planned that the teachers of the Shchukin Institute would come to the final round of selection, but now theatrical schools and institutes of the country have switched to an online reception. A fable, poems and even a plastic sketch - this year entrants of theatrical universities demonstrate their acting skills on video. On the one hand, it’s simpler: you don’t have to get up at six in the morning, take the queue to watch, the whole reception happens on video, and for the video you can select the best frames. On the other hand, there is not enough lively reaction from the commission. Our task is not to re-sculpt the image of the students, but rather, help them discover themselves, their strengths, and find this image themselves. Many begin to “pinched” in front of the camera, actors of the Russian Theater also help to overcome this constraint for future applicants in the classroom. The guys came very different, someone lived in a place where the theater is inaccessible, someone became a theater-goer from a young age. Someone saw in the profession of an actor only an external romantic flair, but someone had already tried himself on stage and knew what acting work was. It is extremely interesting to work with them and we believe that they will return to us and find themselves in the theater!

Before the start of the selection committee, there are literally a few days left, the most critical period begins. Of course, it is difficult without direct contact, without live communication, but we hope that everything goes well. 

Thinking about his future and new actors, the Russian dramatic does not forget about the present. While the doors of the theater are closed, but creativity has found its way online. A new section “Audio Tales” has opened on the theater’s website, actors of the Russian Drama read magical texts that are accompanied by animation. There are a lot of good reviews in the Yakut social networks about the beginnings of the theater, and we are certainly very pleased with this. Both the audience and we, the actors, are looking forward to meeting again in the new, 130th season for our theater. 

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