It is with great regret and sadness that we have learned of the untimely and sudden death of an outstanding Ukrainian theatre scholar and a wonderful, generous person and friend, Professor Maya Volodymyrivna Harbuzyuk.

Maya Harbuzyuk was a professor at the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, Ukraine, and Dean of the Faculty of Culture and Arts at this university. In her intensive scholarly work, which includes more than 100 different publications, articles, and monographs, she has dealt with several areas of research. Among the most important in her scholarly output are her studies on the imageology of Polish-Ukrainian relations in theatre and performance of the 17th-19th centuries, to which she devoted a separate monograph Ukraine in Polish theatre of the 19th century: strategies and forms of representation (Lviv, 2018), as well as numerous articles in Polish and Ukrainian scholarly journals. She has also worked on the reception of Shakespeare in Eastern Europe. She was a member of the Ukrainian Shakespeare Centre, within the framework of which she prepared an encyclopedia documenting the translation, performance, and reception of Shakespeare in Ukraine. She was the only Ukrainian representative in the Shakespeare group established this year at the British Parliament on the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio.

As part of her recent research, she was the first researcher to introduce the foundations of decolonial thinking into Ukrainian theatre studies and inspired the theatre makers themselves with her thoughts. She has published articles on this subject in scientific journals of international scope: Critical Stages, Miscellanea Posttotalitariana Wratislaviensia, Pamiętnik Teatralny. She herself was editor-in-chief of the theatrical journal Proscaenium of the National University of Lviv named after Ivan Franko.

Maya Harbuzyuk was also active in social and theatrical circles in the role of organiser and expert. From 1991 to 2001, she worked in the office of the literary manager at the M. Zankovetskaya National Theatre in Lviv. She was the President of the Theatre Studies Commission of the Scientific Society named after Taras Shevchenko and a member of the Jury of the Ivan Franko International Prize. She has participated in numerous projects of independent cultural institutions.

We, her Polish and Ukrainian colleagues, will remember her most for the work of the international research group established two years ago at the Faculty of Polish Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Poland:  Local knowledge in theatre and performance of the last two decades against epistemic injustice. Polish and Ukrainian perspectives. The work of this group resulted in the participation in the curated panel “Situated Knowing in Polish and Ukrainian Drama” at the Eastap Conference in Aarhus, Denmark this year. Maya’s voice was also heard a year ago at the International Federation for Theatre Research Conference in Reykjavik, where she spoke with sensitivity about Ukrainian theatre’s commitment to helping refugees from war zones after Russia’s attack on the country.

For me personally, Maya Harbuzyuk was a guide to Ukrainian theatre, someone who was able to connect people who were geographically far apart, beyond worldview boundaries. Her sensitive mind was able to extract deeper and non-trivial senses from the ongoing current life in art, which she always understood as a form of social engagement and responsibility.

Maya, we will miss you.

Maya Harbuzyuk. Photo sent by the author.


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This post was written by Ewa Bal.

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