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The landscape of theatre in Ukraine is multifaceted and contrasting. The traditional theater exists alongside with the new formats and meanings. There are more than 400 private and public theatres in Ukraine.  

Houses of Opera and Ballet exist in all the big cities of Ukraine:  Lviv, Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.  

The main drama theatres in Kyiv are  Ivan Franko National Academic Drama TheatreTheatre on Podol, Kyiv State Drama and Comedy Theatre on the left bank of Dnipro river (Left Bank Theater), Kyiv National Academic Molodyy Theatre

Explore the cultural life of Ukraine in Ukrainian regions. In Lviv, you must visit Les Kurbas TheatreTeatr LesiFirst TeatrFrankivsk Drama Theater and Odesa Academic Vasyl Vasylko Theater would be also a great choice. 

Odesa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet
Photo: artfotoss, Depositphotos
Solomiya Krushelnytska Lviv State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet
Photo: bondvit, Depositphotos

Over the last years, Ukraine has seen a boom of independent and experimental theatres.   

One of the earliest players on the alternative performing scene in Ukraine is  Vlad Troitskyi, a renowned director and producer. He created one of the most legendary studio theatres Center for Contemporary Arts  Dakh which is also an educational platform for actor-performers. It was one of the first studios that invited modern authors from abroad and adopted musical and theatrical trends from all over Europe. It also became a starting point for ethno-chaos band  DakhaBrakha and the freak-cabaret  Dakh Daughters whose concerts always have a vibe of a theatrical performance. A multidisciplinary festival of contemporary art GOGOLFEST combines theatre, music, visual, education, children’s program and residences. 

Film performance “Earth” (1930) by Oleksandr Dovzhenko feat. DakhaBrakha live
Photo: Vadym Podlevsky, Dovzhenko Centre

Let’s move to modern opera. NOVA OPERA is an independent formation of artists creating new synthetic genres, like opera requiem, opera circus, dreamOpera, opera ballet, and experimenting with atypical musical and scenic solutions. 

Contemporary drama tends to reveal the social contradictions of Ukrainian society. War, identity, postcolonial psychology and migration became the key topics for the authors. Pay attention to the works of Natalia Vorozhbyt and Pavlo Arie.  

Scene 6  in the premises of the film archive Dovzhenko Center in Kyiv gives a platform for independent theatres. The  Theatrical space TEO  located in the old basement of the military warehouse makes contemporary art closer to the audience in Odesa.

Wild Theatre  offers transgressive and irreverent contemporary drama, both foreign and domestic, that is ‘not recommended for the unstable psyche.’ Theatre Misanthrope  took its own niche on the Ukrainian theatre scene: their performances simultaneously entertain, provoke, intrigue and enlighten the audience. 

Photo: Oleksii Tovpyha, Wild Theatre

UZAHVATI  and PicPic are promenade theatre companies in Ukraine offering immersive experiences on the streets of Kyiv. 

Kharkiv is a hot place for non-state theatre initiatives. Check the programs of the Beautiful Flowers Theatre whose team founded the unique genre called Funk Futurism. The Neft Theatre is an open platform for filmmakers, actors, choreographers, digital artists and contemporary musicians who believe that contemporary theatre must be courageous and innovative. Visit the young and fast-developing festival ParadeFest in Kharkiv to feel the energy of the city via performances of the modern theaters. 

The academic Ukrainian theatre of modern choreography Kyiv Modern Ballet appeals to the formation of a creative laboratory of modern dance: bold experiments, original reading of world-famous theatrical plots, updating and enriching the form and vocabulary of modern dance. The Contemporary Dance Platform unites and coordinates choreographers and dancers. It’s also worth mentioning that there are small groups of performers presenting an authentic dance technique, such as APACHE CREWn’Era Dance Group, Totem Dance Group. 

Choose the most interesting for you to have a great new experience of performing arts! 

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