The Belarusian Theatre Studio in Moscow: 1921–1926

  • Andriej Moskwin
Keywords: Belarusian Theatre Studio, history of the Belarusian theatre, Moscow Art Theatre, Valentin Smyshlyaev, theatre education


The subject of this study is the work of the Belarusian theatre studio in Moscow from 1921 to 1926. It traces the various periods of the studio’s activities, the process of educational programme design, the attitude of students to study, and the attitude of the Belarusian authorities to the studio. The author had the opportunity to collect valuable material and reconstruct the work of the studio by virtue of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus, the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and the Belarusian State Archive-Museum of Literature archival materials, as well as memories of the artists themselves. The studio is the most important event in the history of Belarusian theatre: without the reconstruction of its activities, the picture of the work of the Yakub Kolas National Academic Drama Theatre in Vitebsk would be far from complete. Within five years, the studio raised actors and directors who later began their activities in Belarus. The programme proposed by the actors-pedagogues of the Moscow Art Theatre was innovative for them. An important part of the article is dedicated to Valentin Smyshlyaev, the director of the studio. It is worth remembering that there was no acting school in Belarus at the time and the first professional theatre was not opened until 1920.