Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater (Mariupol Drama Theater) is one of the oldest theaters in Left-bank Ukraine. It is located in the city of Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, on the Theater Square, near the City Park. Despite the fact that the building was constructed a little bit later, the Mariupol Theater was founded in 1878. This was the year when the first Mariupol professional theater troupe was created. The theater house itself was opened in 1887 and functioned until 1947. The new building, which is now the Mariupol Drama Theater, was built in 1960. One of the interesting facts is thatthere was a large arch in front of the theater during the period of its construction, however it was destroyed before its completion and may be observed only on the pictures.
The main facade of the building is made of gray Crimean stone and has several features. They includethe majestic columns, a large number of stucco decorative components, as well as the front, which depicts farmers and metallurgists (the main professions of the region). Inside there are two venues (small and large). The large one contains 680 seats, the small one – 62seats (it was opened only in 1985).
In 1978, the 100th anniversary of the theater was celebrated. On this occasion it received the so-called Order of Honor. In 2007, the theater was given academic status.
The theater functioned actively until 2022, when Russian troops invaded Ukraine and blocked the city of Mariupol. Many civilians lost their homes as a result of the constant bombing and were forced to shelter inside the drama theater. To prevent the possible attacks, the word “ДЕТИ” (English: Children) was written in capital lettersbehind and in front of the drama theater, which was clearly visible from the sky. On March 16, a Russian bombcarrier dropped a heavy bomb on the drama theater. Earlier, the Mariupol City Council made a statement that about 300 people who found air raid shelter in the premises of the theater were trapped. Besides, another 300 people, who were in the bomb shelter on the ground floor were blocked.
In accordance with the updated data from the Associated Press on May 4, the investigation revealed that the number of people who could be killed could reach 600 people. This conclusion was made on the basis of interviews with eyewitnesses who were in the drama theater at the moment of the bombing, with the rescuers, relatives of the victims, civilian lists, as well as provided photos and videos.