Exhibition: Kurbas in Kharkiv at YermilovCentre

January 18 – February 25, 2018


Virlana Tkacz, Founding Director, Yara Arts Group (New York)

Tetiana Rudenko, Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine (Kyiv)

Waldemart Klyuzko, Artistic Design of Exhibition (Kyiv)


  • Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine
  • Yara Arts Group
  • YermilovCentre

Berezil experimented in the early 1920s with movement and new media in theater. Residents of Kharkiv could see these experiments when Berezil toured with Gas, Jimmie Higgins and Macbeth in 1923-1924. The directorial concepts behind these productions could be seen in the exhibition “Kurbas in Kharkiv.”

Les Kurbas and the Berezil Theater moved from Kyiv to Kharkiv in 1926 and set a new goal – to use theater to create a new Ukrainian urban culture and present Kharkiv as the capital of Ukraine. This artistic task was best manifested during the exhibition at YermilovCentre with The People’s Malakhii (1928), Hello, This is Radio 477! (1929) and Myna Mazailo (1929).

The set designs for Hello, This is Radio 477! (a musical revue that positioned new Ukrainian popular culture as part of the latest trends in America and Europe) and Myna Mazailo were recreated especially for this project.

The main goal of the exhibition was to show the modern theatrical innovations that defined Kurbas’s creativity and put him on a par with the most famous avant-garde artists of the first half of the 20th century.

The exhibition was based on the collection of the Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine.

They also used materials provided by the Ukrainian Museum of New York (Archive of Yosyp Hirniak and Olimpia Dobrovolska), Theater Museum of the Taras Shevchenko Kharkiv State Drama Theater, H. Pshenychnyi Central State Film, Photo and Audio Archive of Ukraine, Mykhailo Starytskyi Museum, private archives of Serhii Hordieiev, Mykola Shkaraban, Irena Makaryk, Virlana Tkacz and Yara Arts Group.

Project team: Yana Partola (coordinator), Serhii Hordieiev, Tetiana Pylypchuk, Maryna Kutsenko Valentyna Chechyk, Tetiana Turka, Olena Lybo, Svitlana Oleshko, Valeriia Liubchenko and Virlana Tkacz.