Video Chronicle

A Tour Backstage
26 July 2016


On July 26, 2016, as a part of the lectures and discussion program "Jewish Days at the City Hall: Communities, Milieus and States in the 20th Century Contested Cities" Professor Mayhill Fowler gave a lecture on "A Tour Backstage: Ukrainian, Jewish, and Soviet Theater in the 1920s and 1930s." Location: Ratusha Restaurant (1, Rynok sq.). Free admission.

The 1920s and 1930s were years of violent transformation in Soviet Ukraine, but they were also years of great art, especially in non-Russian languages. Yiddish-language theater and Ukrainian-language theater flourished, yet their co-existence raises the question of national cultures in a multi-ethnic place. Did culture bridge groups, or separate them? Was there one Soviet culture, or different national cultures? What was "national" theater anyways: language, practices, or audiences? These were problems that theater artists tried to solve in interwar Soviet Ukraine. This talk takes you to their world, backstage in the Yiddish theaters in Soviet Ukraine.

The lecture was held in English with simultaneous translation.

Professor Mayhill Fowler (Ph.D. Princeton University), teaches and researches the cultural history of Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe at Stetson University (US). She focuses in particular on how different kinds of state systems shape creativity, and how diversity leads to innovation. Her forthcoming book, "Beau Monde at Empire's Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine," explains the creation of the Soviet cultural periphery through the story of the rise and fall of a milieu of artists and officials in the 1920s and 1930s. Her next project focuses on military entertainment, from World War II to today, in Ukraine, Poland, and Russia - with a comparative eye to Bob Hope and the USO.

Jewish Days is a public program for general audiences. It is related to two other projects of the Center for Urban History - Summer School in Jewish History and Multicultural Past, held annually since 2010, and the initiative Space of Synagogues: Jewish History, Common Heritage and Responsibility (in partnership with the Lviv City Council and the German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ).