GORDEEV P.N. The Conference of Theatre Leaders on March 29–30, 1917: Discussion on the Fates of the Russian Theatre in the Age of Revolution

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2014.3.2

Gordeev Petr Nikolaevich

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

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Naberezhnaya reki Moyki, 48, 191186 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation


Abstract. The article is devoted to the understudied but important event in the history of Russian theatre in the age of revolution – the conference of theatre leaders, held on March 29–30, 1917 in the Winter Palace. The study is aimed at determining the circle of participants, highlighting the discussed issues, evaluating the overall significance of the conference in the history of Russian theatre. In the process of research the author used a number of new archival materials, the most important of which are the recordings of the meeting of March 30 (found by the author in the collections of the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music and introduced to the scientific world for the first time). On the basis of these recordings, as well as other archival materials and publicistic articles, the author managed to determine the circle of theatre leaders who participated in the conference. They include such outstanding representatives of the Russian theater as V.E. Meyerhold, M.M. Fokin, A.I. Sumbatov-Yuzhin and L.V. Sobinov. They discussed the responsibilities of self-government, elected by the actors, the rights of the theatre commissars, the pursuit of Moscow scene to achieve the maximum independence from Petrograd as well as the functions of the assistant commissar of the Provisional Government of the former Ministry of the Court. The question about the possible involvement of Soviet Workers and Soldiers in the development of theatrical reforms provoked lively debates (the proposal was not supported by the majority of the participants). The final resolution of the conference stated the demand of the “autonomy” for state theatres. The significance of the conference consists primarily in the fact that it revealed some common intentions of theatre leaders as well as contradictions on a number of issues, many of which were raised for the first time at this conference and were continually discussed throughout the revolution.

Key words: history of theatre, Russian state theatres, revolution of 1917, V.E. Meyerhold, A.I. Sumbatov-Yuzhin, F.A. Golovin.

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The Conference of Theatre Leaders on March 29–30, 1917: Discussion on the Fates of the Russian Theatre in the Age of Revolution by Gordeev P.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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