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THE TEACHING OF THE THEATRICAL ARTS IMatvei Gorbunov A. Gershkovich Theatrical art can develop only if it is sustained by a constant influx of young talent. The number of theatres in the U.S.S.R. at present is three times what it was forty years ago, running to 600 professional theatrical companies and thousands of amateur theatrical groups and societies. Need it be said that the problem of theatrical cadres and their training is of signal state importance in the U.S.S.R.? Fifteen specialized higher schools and a great many studios attached to leading theatres have been opened in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Thilisi, and other large cities of the Soviet Union, to train actors, stage directors, ballet masters, and theatre critics. It is in place here to mention that there were no more than three or four small theatrical schools in the Russia of tsarist days. These were maintained by patrons of art or by philanthropic societies, and the students had to pay large tuition fees. In the U.S.S.R., all higher and secondary schools are wholly supported by the state. Large funds from the state budget are assigned annually for the maintenance of school buildings and dormitories, the payment of professors and teachers, and the granting of stipends to students. Tuition in the higher theatrical schools, as in all educational institutions of the Soviet Union, is free, and the graduates of these-and all other-schools are provided with work in their chosen profession. The Soviet theatrical school is rooted in the venerable traditions of the Russian theatre. As a result of its comprehensive study of these traditions, it has created a logical and constructive system of training within the framework of the general problems presented by Soviet art. The higher theatrical schools consist of three basic departments: for actors, for stage directors, and for theatre critics. The actors department trains actors for Russian and non-Russian theatres. Its curriculum provides in the main for the study of acting and • 66 MATVEI GORBUNOV & A. GERSHKOVICH auxiliary subjects, such as elocution, dancing, stage deportment, musical education, and make-up. The students of this department also major in socia-economic and philosophical subjects, history of the Russian and foreign theatre, history of Russian and foreign literature, music, and fine arts. They graduate as actors and are offered work in any of the theatres of the country. The stage directors department trains stage directors for the dramatic and musical theatre. In their first four years, the students take courses in theory and get their practice on the professional stage. In their fifth year, they work in a theatre as assistant stage directors and producers of diploma performances. The curriculum of the stage directors department provides in the main for the study of acting and stagecraft and auxiliary subjects, such as drawing, stage-set modelling, elocution, scenic deportment, stage mechanics, scenery, costumes, and musical accompaniment . The students also major in philosophical subjects, history of the theatre, literature, music, and fine arts. In their last years they attend special seminars for the study of popular classical playwrights, such as Gogol, Ostrovsky, Chekhov, Gorky, Shakespeare, Moliere, Goldoni, and others. The students of this department graduate as stage directors and receive work in the dramatic and musical theatres of the country. The theatre critics department trains teachers of history of the theatre for the theatrical schools and studios, theatre critics for the press and literary sections of theatres, as well as inspectors in art departments, directors of theatres, and scholarly workers for theatrical museums and libraries. The students graduate as theatre critics. A large place in the curriculum of this department is occupied by the special disciplines and subjects of the socia-economic and philosophical group: history of philosophy, dialectical and historical materialism, and aesthetics. The special disciplines include detailed courses and seminars in the history and theory of Russian, Soviet, and Western European theatres; theatrical management; and theatrical criticism. The students get their practical training in the theatres, theatrical museums, theatrical managing offices, and editorial offices of special newspapers and magazines. . The higher theatrical schools enrol young men and women with a complete secondary school education who have passed the competitive...


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