On 27–28 November, the landmark 10th International Mikhoels Readings “National Theatre in the Context of Multinational Culture” took place in the Russian State Art Library (RSAL).
Twenty years ago, the first international conference dedicated to the creativity and tragic fate of the famous actor and director Solomon (Shloyme) Mikhoels, head of the Moscow State Yiddish Theatre, marked the beginning of the Mikhoels Readings. Soon the topics of the Readings expanded with academic reports not limited to the history of the State Yiddish Theatre (GOSET) and its contribution to Russian culture. Increasingly important is the study of other national theatres in countries where representatives of a variety of peoples live side by side.
Mikhoels Readings is the only international academic forum devoted to issues directly connected with, on the one hand, art history, the history of theatre, cultural anthropology, and other humanities, and on the other hand, to the study of source resources, collections, and archives.
The conference discusses information, library and archival aspects of research that open new pages in the history of theatres of various cultures. Throughout the years, the organiser of the Readings has been the Russian State Art Library with its collections that preserve considerable materials related to the history of theatres of the world.
Researchers from Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, and Canada took part in the 10th International Mikhoels Readings. The presented reports were dedicated to the life and work of Solomon Mikhoels, the activities of national theatres and storytelling, theatre criticism, research on archive materials related to performers’ biographies, and material on legal judgments involving copyright infringement. There was also a special meeting “From the History of the National Theatre of Belarus”.
Traditionally, an exhibition corresponding to conference’s theme is included in the Readings’ programme. Conference participants and guests became acquainted with publications presented in the exposition “The National Theatre in Publications about the RSAL Collections”. Of particular interest were the books on acting instruction in Russia’s national theatre schools.
On the second day of the conference, new publications by the RSAL were presented — a collection of materials from the 12th International Academic Readings “The Theatre Book between the Past and the Future”, the bibliographic indices: “M. A. Bulgakov: Annotated Bibliographic Index. Vol. 1” and the “The Repertoire of Russian Drama, 1734–1920: Bibliographic Index Vol. 2: D – Ko” which may be purchased in the library.
In addition, the Honoured Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan Rauza R. Sultanova presented her book History of the Tatar Theatre in Poster Art, accompanied by a video presentation.