Transformation of theater industry in Kazakhstan


Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic this year, performing arts of Kazakhstan lost the live interaction with spectators. 

Of course, this influenced planning of the new season. Certainly, this also gave an impetus to switch to the new format. Many theatres in Kazakhstan tried dozens of ways not to lose their viewers. One of them was to switch to the online format. The main theatre venue of the country “Astana Opera” was holding live broadcasts of the premieres during the quarantine.

“The first part consists of different concert performances, includingneoclassical and classical ones, and then a one-act ballet ‘How Long is Now’choreographed by Raimondo Rebeck. This ballet was staged not so long ago. It isa very interesting ballet set to modern music,” said Altynai Assylmuratova, Artistic Director at the Astana Opera Ballet Company.

 “Astana Ballet” theatre staged online performances this year as well. Plays are created using new technologies.

A performance about the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt and Syria – Baybars, was presented on TV. This was the first experience in TV version for the creators of the play, but not the last one. Admirers of performing arts can enjoy Kazakh artists in virtual reality format. Theatres of the country began to launch streaming services. Recordings of both full-length ballet performances of the “Astana Ballet” theatre and exclusive plays will be available in 360-degree format.

“The idea emerged in March. Now it is December. We have been preparing it for eight months. There were various technological difficulties, not only the acquisition of special equipment. Borders were closed. But the process of perception of ballet has also changed. In the 360-degree format, an artist works for the point around the camera, which is spinning. The choreography and location of the scenery also changed, and it took time. Stage directors and technical services made enormous work,” noted Alexandr Sovostyanov, Astana Ballet Theatre Director.

New music theatres also appeared in Kazakhstan this year. A new Kazakh Musical and Drama Theatre named after Kalibek Kuanyshbayev opened in Nur-Sultan.

In addition, a music theatre of young spectators opened its doors.

“This is the country’s first music theater of young spectators. We have our own orchestra. We will show guests our national heroes through the performances of folk tales such as “Tazsha bala”, “Aldar Kose’, “Kunekei Kyz”, “Kozhanasyr”. In addition, the repertoire will include the world famous works “Cinderella” and “The Golden Key”,” added Askhat Mayemirov, Director of the Music Theater of Young Spectator.

2020 showed that Kazakh theaters are successfully integrating into the digital age, developing and transforming art.