1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Vsevolod Meyerhold

Edited By Jonathan Pitches, Stefan Aquilina Copyright 2023
    532 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    532 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Vsevolod Meyerhold brings together a wealth of scholarship on one of the foremost innovators in European theatre. It presents a detailed picture of the Russian director’s work from when it first emerged on the modern stage to its multifarious present-day manifestations.

    By combining an historical focus with the latest contemporary research from an international range of perspectives and authors, this collection marks an important moment in Meyerhold studies as well as offering a new assessment of his relation to today's theatre-making. Its dynamic blend of research is presented in five sections: Histories enlarges on more conventional subjects like the grotesque and Biomechanics, to overlooked topics such as Meyerhold's ‘failed’ projects and his work in film; Collaborations and Connections extends understandings of Meyerhold’s well-known collaborative capacities to consider new cultural influences and lesser known working relationships; Sources engages with hitherto untapped material in Meyerhold’s oeuvre by reproducing and contextualising previously untranslated primary sources on his work; Practitioner Voices offer lively, on the ground, testimony of the contemporary impact of Meyerhold's practice; Meyerhold in New Contexts maps the routes of his practice across continents and examines ways in which his work is being applied in a number of contemporary scenarios, such as motion capture, computer-based 3D visualisations, and the ‘new normal’ of digital pedagogy.

    This is a key resource for students and scholars of European Theatre, acting theory, and actor training, as well as for those more broadly interested in the socio-political impact of theatre.

    Part I: Histories

    Part I: Histories


    Stefan Aquilina

    1. Vsevolod Meyerhold and Cinema

    Anna Kovalova

    2. Meyerhold, the Musician
    Nathan Thomas

    3. Meyerhold in the 1930s: Language, Text, Performance

    Anna Muza

    4. Meyerhold’s Hamlet: An Unrealised Dream

    Michelle Assay

    5. Looking at Meyerhold’s Unseen Theatre

    Amy Skinner

    6. Performing Communism, or, What if we Took Meyerhold’s Politics Seriously?

    Teemu Paavolainen

    Part II: Collaborations and Connections


    Stefan Aquilina

    7. Meyerhold and Stanislavsky: Forty Years of Cordial Disagreement

    Marie-Christine Autant-Mathieu

    8. An Unknown Legacy: Uncovering Traces of Savva Mamontov’s Work in Meyerhold’s Conditional Theatre

    Donatella Gavrilovich

    9. Meyerhold’s Female Collaborators

    Stefan Aquilina

    10. The Influence of Giovanni Grasso on Meyerhold’s Works, Theories, and Biography

    Gabriele Sofia

    11. Toward Conscious and Independent Action: Pyotr Lesgaft’s System of Physical Education as Inspiration for Meyerhold’s Biomechanics
    Małgorzata Jabłonska

    12. Meyerhold and Trotsky

    Robert Leach

    Part III: Sources


    Jonathan Pitches

    13. The Commedia Dell’arte Origins of Biomechanics: Actor Training and Collective Creation at the Borodinskaia Street Studio

    Dassia N. Posner

    The Borodinskaia Street Studio: Documents on Actor Training and Collective Creation

    Translated and edited by Dassia N. Posner

    14. Fragments of a Creative life: Introduction to Five New SourcesStefan Aquilina

    Letters to Anton Chekhov, 1899–1904

    Comments by Doctor Dapertutto on ‘The Denial of Theatre’ by Yury Aikhenvald, 1914

    Theatre Pamphlets I: On Dramaturgy and Theatre Culture, 1921

    From Meyerhold’s Speech at the Discussion ‘Creative Methods at the Meyerhold Theatre’, 25 December 1930

    On the Spatial Composition of Performance, 2 April 1936

    Part IV: Practitioner Voices


    Jonathan Pitches

    15. A Theatre Company as a Meyerholdian Experiment in Grotesque

    Paul Stebbings and Phil Smith

    16. The Evolution of Proper Job: Working with Meyerhold in the Contemporary British Theatre

    James Beale, Franc Chamberlain, and Chloe Whitehead

    17. Biomechanical diasporas: Practitioner Perspectives on the Transmission of Meyerhold’s Techniques
    Marcelo Bulgarelli, Terence Mann (Chapman), Claudio Massimo Paternò, and Robert Reid

    18. Transmission Impossible

    Ralph Räuker

    19. Decoding the Riddle: Applying Meyerhold’s Conception of the Director’s Explication

    Bryan Brown and Olya Petrakova

    Part Vi: Meyerhold in New Contexts: Transnational Migrations


    Stefan Aquilina

    20. Meyerhold’s Influence on Twentieth-century Japanese Theatre

    Min Tian

    21. Nesting dolls: Sketches in Search of Meyerhold in Australia

    Ian Maxwell and Chris Hay

    22. An Unexpected Triangle: Politis, Meyerhold, and Karaghiozis in Interwar Greece

    Antonis Glytzouris

    23. Biomechanical Resonances in Turkey: The Working Method of Studio Oyuncuları

    Burç İdem Dinçel

    24. Meyerhold’s Influence on the Production Processes of PERFORMA TEATRO (Brazil) Arlete Cavaliere


    Jonathan Pitches

    Part Vii: Meyerhold in New Contexts: Interdisciplinarities


    Jonathan Pitches

    25. Meyerhold in the 21st Century: The Meeting Points of Biomechanics and Postdramatic Performance

    Diana Monteiro Toombs

    26. The New Meyerhold Theatre: Visualising a Lost Architectural Experiment

    Rachel Hann

    27. Theatrical Biomechanics and Movement Science

    Darren Tunstall

    28. Biomechanics in Lockdown: Teaching Meyerhold in the age of COVID-19

    Jonathan Pitches


    Jonathan Pitches is Professor of Theatre and Performance and Head of the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds. He specialises in performer training, ecocriticism, and blended learning. He is founding co-editor of the journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training.

    Stefan Aquilina is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Malta and Co-Director of the Stanislavsky Research Centre. He has published extensively on modern theatre (especially Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and amateur theatre), the transmission of embodied practice, and interdisciplinary performance.

    “Hugely informative – and also huge in physical size – The Routledge Companion to Vsevolod Meyerhold is a most important publication that is exemplary in its expression of the strength and diversity of theatre studies internationally today.”

    Patrick Lonergan, National University of Ireland in Galway, Stanislavski Studies, September 2023