1st Edition

Russians in Britain British Theatre and the Russian Tradition of Actor Training

Edited By Jonathan Pitches Copyright 2012
    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    From Komisarjevsky in the 1920s, to Cheek by Jowl’s Russian ‘sister company’ almost a century later, Russian actor training has had a unique influence on modern British theatre. Russians in Britain, edited by Jonathan Pitches, is the first work of its type to identify a relationship between both countries’ theatrical traditions as continuous as it is complex.

    Unravelling new strands of transmission and translation linking the great Russian émigré practitioners to the second and third generation artists who responded to their ideas, Russians in Britain takes in:

    • Komisarjevsky and the British theatre establishment.
    • Stanislavsky in the British conservatoire.
    • Meyerhold in the academy.
    • Michael Chekhov in the private studio.
    • Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop and the Northern Stage Ensemble.
    • Katie Mitchell, Declan Donnellan and Michael Boyd.

    Charting a hitherto untold story with historical and contemporary implications, these nine essays present a compelling alternative history of theatrical practice in the UK.

    Contents Frontispiece i List of Illustrations: ii Notes on Contributors: iv Acknowledgements: vi Introduction: The Mechanics of Tradition-making 1 Jonathan Pitches Chapter 1: A Tradition in Transition: Komisarjevsky’s Seduction of the British theatre 14 Jonathan Pitches Chapter 2: Stanislavsky’s Passage into the British Conservatoire 44 David Shirley Chapter 3: Michael Chekhov and the Studio in Dartington: The Re-membering of a Tradition 74 Jerri Daboo Chapter 4: Riding the Waves: Uncovering Biomechanics in Britain 102 Amy Skinner Chapter 5: 'Who is Skivvy?' The Russian Influence on Theatre Workshop 131 Robert Leach Chapter 6: Shared Utopias? Lev Dodin, Alan Lyddiard and the Northern Stage Ensemble 164 Duška Radosavljevic? Chapter 7: Re-visioned Directions: Stanislavsky in the 21st Century 198 Bella Merlin and Katya Kamotskaya Conclusion: A Common Theatre History? The Russian Tradition in Britain today: Declan Donnellan, Katie Mitchell and Michael Boyd 229 Jonathan Pitches Index: 252


    Jonathan Pitches is Professor of Theatre and Performance and Director of Research in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at Leeds University. He is the author of two books on Russian actor training, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting. He has taught masterclasses on Russian actor training at the RSC and in Tokyo, Malta and Shanghai and is the founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Theatre, Dance and Performance Training.