L'viv between the wars

Western Ukraine was part of the inter-war Polish Republic, and there was considerable tension between the government's efforts at Polonization and the aspirations of the Ukrainian population. Nonetheless, there was much Ukrainian cultural activity in 1930s L'viv, and theater was an important part of that world.

The cultural life of L'viv was cosmopolitan and Western-looking, and many theatrical productions were translations of Western European works, including such surprises as Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado". The actor in the center is Mykola Bentsal, who would go on to become the director of the Tobilevych Theater, one of major Ukrainian theater companies in L'viv during the inter-war period.

'The Mikado' production photograph

Production of "The Mikado", 1930.

The other major force in the L'viv theatrical world was the experimental Zahrava Theater, of which the Serdiuk's were members. It was led by director Volodymyr Blavats'kyi and was heavily influenced by Les' Kurbas and the Berezil' Theater.

Members of the Zahrava theater company

Members of the Zahrava theater company, 1937.

The Serdiuk Papers have photographs of several productions by this company, including "Oi ne khody Hryts'iu", "Holhota", and "Kamo Hriadeshy".

Production of "Oi ne khody Hryts'iu" by the Zahrava theater company

Production of "Oi ne khody Hryts'iu" by the Zahrava theater company, 1934-35 season.