The Development of Yiddish Theatre in Czarist Russia : A Study of the Interaction between Majority and Minority Cultures

Date of Graduation

Summer 2006


Master of Arts in Theatre


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Christopher Herr


The purpose of this thesis is to study the development of Yiddish theatre within the context of the czarist government of Russia in the nineteenth century. It is the study of how theatre emerged from a minority culture and the effect the theatre had both on the minority and majority cultures. Prior to the emergence of Yiddish theatre within the Russo-Jewish community, a number of the anti-theatrical prejudices had to be overcome. This thesis traces the roots of professional Yiddish theatre beginning with Purim Plays and Broder Singers. It also traces the history of anti-Semitism found within czarist Russia. I theorize that before a professional theatre tradition can be established in minority culture, there must be a permissive environment within the majority culture. Therefore, this thesis investigates Yiddish theatre's need for support from the Jewish community and the historically anti-Semitic czarist government.


Yiddish, theatre, Russia, Jewish, czar

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


© Catherine I. Bradley