THEATRE IN SOVIET PERIOD
The State United Theater was established by a decree of July 1, 1920, after the collapse of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. This comprised all theatrical troupes and amateur artists working in Baku. The burnt theatre of Taghiyev was restored by the order of the government in 1918. The theatrical troupe, detaching from the State Theater, started operating as an independent theatre in 1922. The ceremony of the opening of Azerbaijan State Dramatic Theater was accompanied by staging the comedy by M.F.Akhundov (from 1933 the theatre after M.Azizbekov) "Hadji Kara" on January 17, 1922. The activity of such realist-democrat writers as N.Vezirov, A.Hagverdiyev, Dj.Mamedgulizade, S.S.Akhundov, that contributed to the theatre and culture formation and development of Azeri dramaturgy and speeches in media of other prominent workers of literature and art, actors and producers as N.Narimanov, U.Hadjybeyov, M.Magomayev and Dj. Djabbarly played an important role in the determination of correct attitude to classical heritage of national and world dramaturges and principles of theatre development.
The repertoire of the theatre of 1920th was created in conditions of sharp struggle against formalist and vulgar socialist trends. One of the most important problems facing the theatre was the increase in quality of ideal-artistic level of performances. Translated plays as well as creations of Azeri dramaturges, especially the plays of Dj. Djabbarly added to the repertoire of the theatre. Those years were marked by staging of such creations as "The deceased" (Dj.Mamedgulizade), "Lachyn nest" (S.S.Akhundov), "Sheikh Sanan", "The Duke" (H.Djavid), "Aydin", "Ogtay Eloglu", "Sevil", "The Bride of a Fire" (Dj.Djabbarly), "The Controller" (N.V.Qoqol), "The Lower Depths" (M.Qorki), "The Gypsies" (F.Shiller), "Othello" (W.Shakespeare), "Zaqmuk" (A.M.Qlebov), "The Spring Love" (K.A.Treynov), "The Laughing Man" (V.Gugo), etc.
Due to the search of new forms some theatrical performances did not gain success. But all that could not have a significant impact on the common development of the theatre following the path of realistic art. Such theatre actors as A.M.Sharifzade, U.Radjab, M.A.Aliyev, S.Ruhulla, M.Davudova, I.Hidayatzade, R.Tahmasib, K.Ziya, M.Mardanov, M.Velikhanly, A.Qurbanov, S.Hadjiyeva, A, Mamedova, M.Senani, Q.Topuriya, M.Yermakova (Makhfura), producers A.Tuganov and first representatives of Baku Theater College F.Gadiri, R.Efganly, I.Daghistanly, etc created in the 1920th. 1935-1941st are marked for the maturity of the Azerbaijan State Theater. At that time theatre produced plays, covering contemporary life as "The Life" (1937, M.Ibragimov), "The Wedding" (1939, S.Rahman), historical dramas as "Vagif", "Khanlar" (1938, 1939, S.Vurgun), "Gachag Nebi" (1940, S.Rustam).
In 1948 producer A.Iskenderov, actors M.A.Aliyev, M.Davudova, S.Ruhulla, R.Afganly, K.Ziya, I.Daghestanly, painter N.Fatullayev were presented the State Award of USSR for the performance "Oriental Morning" (A.Mamedkhanly). On the same year, the theatre made a successful tour to Moscow.
The year of 1975 celebrated the 75th jubilee of Azerbaijani theatre. By the order of then-working Supreme Council of USSR, the theatre was conferred with the Order of Red Labor Flag. S.Ruhulla, M.Amirov, M.Davudova deserved the title of popular artists of USSR.
In 1955-1960 the theatre produced a number of interesting shows on classical and contemporary topics: "The ophthalmologist" (1955, I.Safarli), "Aligulu's wedding", " A lie" (1960, 1965, S.Rahman), "The Fire" (1961, M.Guseyn), "A Village girl", "The punky hearth" (1962, 1967, M.Ibragimov), "You are always in my heart", "I'm not able to forget", "The lost diaries" (1964, 1968, 1969, I.Efendiyev), "The Deceased" (1966, Dj.Mamedguluzade), "Without you"(1967, Sh.Gurbanov), "The second part" (1969, V. Vahabzade), etc. At that period the theatre successfully staged a number of creations by Azeri and foreign dramaturges, for example, "Sheikh Sanan" (1956, H.Djavid), "Djavashir" (1957, M.Guseyn), "Peri Jadu" (1957, A.Hagverdiyev), "Strange person" (1957, N.Hikmet), "Uncle Vanya" (1959, A.R.Chekhov), "Maria Tudor" (1962, V.Gugo), "Antony and Cleopatra" (1964, W.Shakespeare), "Migrants" (1964, Dj. F.Bashkut), "A maiden from Orleans"(1965, F.Shiller), "The Ill-fated Girl" (1968, A.Shirvanzade), "Dead while alive"(1968, L.N.Tolstoi), etc. During ten days of literature and art of Azerbaijan, the theatre demonstrated such performances as "Othello" (W.Shakespeare), "Almas" (Dj.Dhabbatly), "Farhad and Shirin" (S.Vurgun), etc.
Like other spheres, the theatre also experienced a period of renaissance in the 1970th. Due to the assistance, support and true patronage of Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev to the theatre and art workers, the art of national theatre made its way to stable development. The year 1974 was marked by the unexampled celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Theater. H.A.Aliyev, first secretary of then working Central Committee of Azerbaijan made a meaningful report. H.A.Aliyev also made a report on the art, artists and mastery at a party in the Gulistan Palace. At that time a great many artists were provided with new lodgings, deserved honoured titles and presented awards. The same year three prominent artists of the Azerbaijan State Academic Drama Theater-M. Mamedov, I.Daghestanly and I.Osmanly- deserved the best title of the former USSR-the title of honoured artists of the Union. The theatre went on tour to Moscow from June 27 to July 10 in 1974 and was conferred with Lenin's order. The theatre demonstrated such performances as "A man" by S.Vurgun, "The song was left in mountains" by I.Efendiyev, "The judgement of the time" by N.Poqorin, "Knavery and love" by F.Shiller, "The storm" by W.Shakespeare, "The deceased" by Dj.Mamedguluzade.
The performances of the 1980th are notable for the colourfulness of themes, interesting playing of actors and producers' work. Such popular artists as S.Bashirzade, A.Panahova, A.Gadirov, N.Melikova, Y.Nuriyev, M.Sadygova, Seyavush Aslan, H.Turabov, honoured artists M.A.rafov, Z. Aghakishiyeva, A.Vekikhanly, H.Qurbanov, R.Dadashov, R.Azimov, N.Aliyev, A.Aliyeva, B.Askerov, S.Ibragimova, H.Ismayilov, H.Mehbaliyeva, R.Melikov, L.Mamedbeyov, M.Mirzayev, M.Novruzova, M.Sadygov, K.Khudaverdiyev, M.Hadjybeyov, E.Hashymzade, B.Djafarova, producers-honoured art workers A.Kazymov, M.Ferzelibeyov, painters Elchin (chief painter), I.Ismayilov, etc created at the end of these years. A studio of young artists also operated within the theatre. Performances were shown on the small stage in 1982.
Economic, social and political events occurring in Azerbaijan since 1988 had a negative impact on the theatre as well. Armenians created unprecedented tragedy in the country and backed by foreign protectors occupied our lands. They killed innocent people and committed the Hodjaly genocide. They caused the tragedy of January 20, 1990. They ruined establishments and destroyed the national cultural monuments of our people. They took our best creations of art and introduced them to foreign countries as belonging to them.
The economic relations with all countries, ideological and cultural ties of our country weakened. The military terror which destroyed the ideological and political life of Azerbaijan and created the regressive atmosphere, stroke a hard blow to our national culture, art, including theatre. The creative activity of the theatre experienced depression.