The Latgale theatre in Rezekne (1921-1940)


  • Silvija Geikina Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy (LV)



acting, directing, performing arts, repertoire policy, socio-political situation, theatre


The existence of The Latgale Theatre in Rezekne was not long. It existed for just a couple of decades, from 1921 to 1944. Similarly to other Latvian theatres, The Latgale Theatre in Rezekne opened its first performances soon after the declaration of Latvian independence in 1918.
In 1920`s almost every Latvian city established a theatre troupe with some professional but mostly – amateur actors. This activity and the desire to work in the culture field shows the Latvian nation's spiritual strength and vitality in spite of the difficult economic and political situation.
The Latgale Theatre's first performance took place in 1921, 4th April. It was Maurice Matherlink's play of simbols – 'Sister Beatrice' in the direction of Karl Hamsters. Hamsters' choice of material already shows his original literary taste. Looking at other peripheral theatres' repertoires during this period, it can be seen that they mostly consist of less sophisticated dramatic works from such authors as Aspazija, Blaumanis, Alunana, John Akuraters and other Latvian author plays.
Like other Latvian peripheral theatres, Latgale Rezekne Theatre did not receive any material support from the government. It had to find its own funding to produce shows. Soon The Latvian Culture Promotion Society Rezekne branch took the theatre under its wing. But it did not have sufficiant funds either, therefore in early 1920`s regular performances in Rezekne did not happen. In 1924 Rezekne established the association "Latgale nation castle". The society activists started building the construction project. Joseph Trasuns was elected as the first President of the Society but the board was composed by Joseph Becker, John Draught, Peter Zadvinskis and others. One of the first tasks of the association was to create The Latgale culture centre in Rezekne.
The next stage in the history of The Latgale Theatre is rightly considered one of the most prominent and artistically significant in 1930`s, and is associated with Ernests Feldmanis. He was working in The Latgale Theatre from 1933-1937. With his arrival, Latgale Theatre successfuly got out of the artistic exhaustion and delighted its audience with a number of bright and major productions. Ernest Feldmanis offered productions of plays which Latgale citizens had not seen before: Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the marriage', E. Woolf's 'A Tale of Death', F. Molnar's 'The Devil', Moliere's 'Don Giovanni', Wild's 'An Ideal husband.'
The existing productions as well as the future prospects of the theatre came to an end along with the Second World War, during which the theatre building got destroyed. It was renovated after the war and utilised by amateur theatres.
The aim of this work is to research the operation of The Latgale Theatre form its first performance in 1921 till the last one in 1944, discovering the historical situation in Latvia during 1920`s and 30`s, which could have resulted in a possible emergence of a new theatre in Rezekne. The article explains the theatre’s repertoire policy and the directors’ job.
The methods used: media analysis method and museum material analysis.


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How to Cite

Geikina, S. (2014). The Latgale theatre in Rezekne (1921-1940). ARTS AND MUSIC IN CULTURAL DISCOURSE. Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference, 26-34.