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The Second International Festival
"Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta"

September 12-18, 2009
Yalta, Ukraine

Review by Inga Ryazanoff


Take care of the luxuries and the necessities
will take care of themselves
(Dorothy Parker)

Theatre, Anton Chekhov, the “velvet” season near the sea - what a fantastic combination of the theatre celebration at the historic place of the outstanding Russian writer and playwright and the enchanting beauty of the Crimean Mountains and the Black Sea. On September 12-18, 2009 Yalta, the ancient city in Crimea (southern Ukraine) became the international epicentre of theatre art. The Second International Festival “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta” assembled theatre artists, directors, playwrights, art critics, theatre journalists and political élite from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Belarus, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Yalta is called the city of Anton Chekhov. Chekhov spent the last five years of his life in Yalta, it was there that he wrote his great plays “The Cherry Orchard”, “Three Sisters”, “The Lady with the Dog”, “The Student”, “The Darling” and other works.

A.Chekhov Yalta Theatre has a remarkable history connected with such legendary names as Konstantin Stanislavsky, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, Feodor Chaliapin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Aleksandr Vertinsky, Ivan Kozlovsky and many other renowned personalities. The memorial plaque on the front facade of the theatre states: “The theatre was built in 1883, renovated in 1908, reconstructed in 2008 on the initiative of the President of Russia V.V.Putin and the President of Ukraine L.D. Kuchma with the financial support of A.E. Lebedev, the Chairman of the board of directors of “NRK” (Russia)”.

Today A.Chekhov Yalta Theatre is a contemporary multifunctional theatre venue with the splendid architecture, rich historical atmosphere and the high tech equipment able to provide excellent conditions for the wide range of creative events.

Long before the festival opening ceremony, A.Chekhov Yalta Theatre was surrounded by local townspeople, guests, tourists, foreigners, children, students and ladies with dogs curiously contemplating “The Young Spanish Girl”, “The Tired Violinist”, “Thalia. The Muse of Comedy”, “The Roman Warrior”, “The Young Spinner” and other amazing live sculptures meeting the guests at the front of the building.

The opening ceremony of the festival “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta” began with the impressive glittering show of dancers, the female marching band and the symphony orchestra. The formal ceremony was followed by the welcoming speeches of Aleksander Lebedev - Russian State Duma Deputy and the Patron of the renowned A.Chekhov Yalta Theatre, Sergei Braiko - the Mayor of Yalta city, Nikolai Rudnik - the Director of A.Chekhov Yalta Theatre, members of the festival jury and the guests of honour. The National Artists of the USSR – Ada Rogovtseva and Lev Durov raised the festival flag. The whole Yalta city was illuminated with the atmosphere of celebration. Spectators, festival guests sharing impressions, ladies in beautiful evening dresses, accompanied by elegant gentlemen in tail coats and bow ties anticipating the first performance – the Crimean air acquired a very special theatre fragrance. The final part of the opening ceremony was crowned with the splendid holiday buffet, Crimean wine, handshakes and smiles, sparkling flashes of the cameras capturing the lively conversations of the festival guests and the charming evening melodies performed by the jazz band.

The production centre „Art House” and Kiev academic workshop of theatre art „Suzirie” (Kiev, Ukraine) opened the programme of the festival performances. The creative programme was continued by Oryol State Theatre for Children and Young Poeople “Free Space” (Oryol, Russia), Choreographic Workshop of Gloria Contreras, National University of Mexico City (Mexico, Mexico), Mogilyov Regional Drama Theatre (Mogilyov, Belarus), Kiev Academic Theatre of Drama and Comedy on the Left Bank of Dnieper (Kiev, Ukraine), Kaunas Chamber Theatre (Kaunas, Lithuania), Theatre “Factory” (Kiel, Germany), State Drama Theatre for Young People “S Ulitsi Roz” (Kishinyov, Moldova), Moscow New Drama Theatre (Moscow, Russia), Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian theatre (Riga, Latvia), Theatre “Komediant” (Moscow, Russia) and Kharkov Theatre «P.S» (Kharkov, Ukraine).

Mr. Nikolai Rudnik, the Honoured Art Worker of Ukraine, the Director of A.Chekhov Yalta Theatre, always smiling and attentive to the festival guests, was truly one of the brightest figures of the festival. In the conversation he said, “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta” is the new, contemporary, up-to-date project, unifying international festival and professional theatre. This is the “championship” of theatres which includes the showcase of the best creative achievements in the field of theatre art. The international festival is both the parade of famous theatre companies, and the initiative with the mission to emphasize the orientation towards expansion of theatre space.”

The festival organizers are convinced that “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta” will become traditional and joyful event for all people who appreciate theatre and who are interested to take part in international theatre forums, creative meetings and discussions. The organizers have been developing theatre traditions, keeping theatre connections and extending the geography of the festival.

The final festival award ceremony included the presentation of the festival nominations and gifts by the festival jury, guests of honour, festival sponsors and Yalta city administration. The evening grew into a colourful entertaining show with “Kapustnik” (it could be translated in English as "Cabbage-head" - an informal tradition in Russian and Soviet theatre when actors show their own recognizable funny plays for each other), colourful salute, music, singing and a luxury buffet.

It was noted, that the foreign guests were very pleased by the high standard of the festival organization – from the form of presentation and the thought-out direction to the content which manifested in every detail. The enthusiastic team of the coordinators were supporting the guests during the festival week providing professional and smooth running of the eventful schedule. Besides the festival programme, the local sightseeing was organized – the excursion by boat from Alushta to Yalta, visit to A.Chekhov house-museum and memorial and the Sea-Animals Theatre "Aquatoria". Participants were staying at one of the best resorts of Crimea enjoying the beautiful Black See views.

Probably, only a person with experience of organizing similar events (the author of this article is one of them) is able to notice and appreciate all the efforts put into the enormous organizational work which afterwards remains invisible “behind the scenes” but make such theatre festival possible, moreover, unforgettable. In any case, all the self-evident pleasant details were very important, they created the favourable atmosphere for creative communication, and confirmed that the Second International Festival “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta” was a success for both the organisers and the participants.

In the conclusion on this story, the author would like to draw the reader’s attention to the name of the person who deserves special respect and admiration - the Patron the festival, Mr. Aleksander Lebedev. Thanks to the financial support of Aleksander Lebedev the festival “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta” has found a wonderful hospitable home attracting theatre artists from all over the world. (More information about A.Lebedev can be found on )

By supporting the arts we support our future. Yes, this is noble and sublime. After all, all money of the world exists for the sake of development of the human culture and prosperity of the arts. 

The next festival “Theatre. Chekhov. Yalta”
will take place in September 2010.

For more details, please contact Inga Ryazanoff

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