Burhanettin Tepsi

Tiyatro Oyuncusu

Galatasaray High School
Diğer İsimler
Burhaneddin Tepsi

Theatre actor, director (B.1882, Istanbul – D. 1947, Istanbul). He is originally from Tarsus and comes from a wide family which is known as Mısrîzade and which migrated from Egypt. He is the son of Yusuf Neyyir Bey, Compound Director of Foreigner’s Law. Neyyir Bey was known in the same time as a young writer with his novel “Gülzar-ı Hayal” and some translations he made from Lamartine. Burhanettin Tepsi graduated from Galatasaray High School in 1902 after his father passed away at the age of 28. He resisted his family’s insists on a higher education saying that he wanted to be in arts like his father. He tried to strengthen his passion for acting by making exercises with İsmail Hakkı and Ali Nuri, sons of Grand Vizier Tevfik Pasha during his school years. He did not listen to the objections and remained in acting which was his real passion.

However he could not resist upon the insisting of his family and went to see his brother who was assigned to Consulate of Marseilles. He continued lessons in Pa­ris Conservatory in the class of the famous actor Silvain.  When he returned with a decent level of French to his homeland, he started to work as a translator in Sublime Porte. Later he promoted up to Translator of Prime Minister. However he resigned from this position and after going to Tarsus and selling the assets of his family, he escaped to Egypt. From there he passed to France and continued his education of theatre for a long period. Having increased his stage experience with Silvain and his wife Louise Silvain, both actors of Comédie Française, he played important roles in tours within France in plays of Rolland and Britannicus.

Burhanettin Tepsi returned to Istanbul after the declaration of the constitutional period (1908) but had to be contented with small roles in Istanbul stages which were dominated by Armenian actors and actresses. Later he established a “Heyeti Edebiye” (T.N Literary Group) and staged some pieces of Abdülhak Hâmit (Tarhan)’s works. He started acting and established companies, staging national and international works. In 1911 he staged classical plays such as Sophokles and Euripides with Sylvains and became one of the most mentioned artists by the press. Starting from his return to Turkey, he took part in groups several times (the most important one is Sahne-i Osmaniye group which included Osman Hamdi, the director of Müze-i Hümayun, and Recaizade Ekrem). After these failed he established his own group and strengthened his place in Constitutional theatre. Within that period he first took part in the theatrical group called Sahne-i Milliye-i Osmaniye. Later he passed to Sahne-i Osmaniye and established the New Theatre Company with Reşat Bey.

Burhanettin Bey also took step into cinematography but the movie production he started remained incomplete because of the 1st World War. He played a role in the movie “Alemdar Mustafa Paşa” (Sultan Selim-i Salis) directed by Sedat Simavi who was a young journalist at his twenties at that time, shot on behalf of National Defense Association and written by Sedat Simavi, Celal Esat (Arseven) and Selah Cimcoz. This production was the first historical documentary movie in the same time. However Burhanettin Bey who could not continue his rapid success in theatre stage had a rapid failure in cinema. He started to be criticized intensively because of his lack of concentration in plays and cues he forgot.

Burhanettin Tepsi organized tours to Egypt, Syria and France with a small group in order to move away from Turkey for a while but could not find what he expected. He made his first marriage with Saniye Hanım who was quite younger than him. In 1924 he went again to France and played there with his wife translations of Turkish theatrical works for eighteen years. He left Turkey during the 1st World War and returned during the 2nd World War (1942). He started to perform with the Burhanettin-Saniye Tepsi Theatre he established. However it was a real failure which made him end his artistic career with a jubilee organized by Muhsin Ertuğrul and his friends. In 1947 at an early age he passed away due to heart failure.

Burhanettin Bey had major contribution to the education of theatre actors such as Afife Jale, Behzad Haki Budak, İsmail Galip Arcan and Muhsin Ertuğrul. He was one of the first teachers of Darülbedayi-i Osmanî established by Istanbul Municipality and opened in 1914. He received the Lorea Medal from French Academy

REFERENCE: İbrahim Alaeddin Gövsa / Türk Meşhurları (1946), Hüseyin Adıbelli / Türkiye’de İlk Diplomalı Aktör: Tarsuslu Burhanettin Tepsi (Aratos dergisi, Kasım-Aralık 2004), Uğur Pişmanlık / Tarsuslu Yazarlar ve Sanatçılar Ansiklopedisi (Ocak 2008), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Sanatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 5, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).



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