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Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego
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Anatoly Vassiliev

Anatoly Vassiliev was born near Penza in 1942 during wartime evacuation. He spent his childhood in Baku and Tula, and attended school and university in Rostov-on-Don. After studying chemistry he worked at a chemistry institute in Siberia and conducted oceanographic research in the Far East. In 1968 he entered Moscow’s State Institute of Dramatic Art (GITIS), where he studied under Maria Knebel. His directorial debut was A Solo for a Clock with Chimes (1973) at the MChAT Theatre. He worked at the Stanislavski Theatre, then at the Taganka Theatre. In 1981 he started teaching at GITIS and WGIK (All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography) in Moscow, as well as taught advanced screenwriting and directing courses.
In 1982 he began rehearsals for Slavkin’s Cerceau, which he staged between 1984 and 1985. In 1986 he produced Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author (GITIS graduation production), which was performed in 1987 at the opening of his theatre, the School of Dramatic Art. Both productions toured internationally.
Vassiliev’s most important educational projects in the first stage of his work at the School of Dramatic Art included Vis-à-Vis (1988), Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Demons (1988), Pirandello’s Each In His Own Way (an Italian-Russian co-production, 1993) and Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers (presented in Wrocaw). In the 1990s Vassiliev was also involved in educational projects in Belgium (Centre international de formation en arts du spectacle, Brussels), Switzerland (Académie Expérimentale des Théâtres, Verbier), taught a master class in France (CFPTS, Bagnolet) and led the School of Masters with Italian, French and Belgian actors in Italy (Fagagna).
In 2001 the School of Dramatic Art moved to a new building where Vassiliev continued his research, focusing his work on language. His laboratory projects at that time included Plato’s The Republic, An Evening with Moliere, Pushkin Matinée and Homer’s Iliad (1996–2002). His most recent productions directed in Moscow include Pushkin’s Mozart and Salieri, Müller’s Medea Material (for the 3rd Theatre Olympics, in collaboration with L’Académie Expérimentale des Théâtres, 2001), Homer’s Iliad. 23rd Chant (2001) and Alexander Pushkin’s From the Voyage of Oniegin (2004). In 2006 the worsening political climate forced Vassiliev out of his theatre and into exile in France.
Some of the productions staged by Vassiliev outside Russia in the 21st century include Moliere’s Amphytrion (Commédie Française, 2002), Jean-Baptiste Boyer’s Thérèse Philosophe (L’Odéon, 2007) and Euripides’ Medea (Epidauros, 2008). He also worked in Hungary where he mounted three productions of works by Dostoyevsky (1994), Alexander Ostrovsky (1998) and Marguerite Duras (2009).
Since 2004 Vassiliev has been involved in educational projects in the West, in countries including France (a four-year directing course in Lyon, 2004–2008), Italy (Rome, Milan, Città di Piove and Venice, a three-year project called “L’Isola della pedagogia”), Greece (Athens), Spain (Barcelona), Germany (Berlin) and Poland (a two-year project as part of the “Masters in Residence” programme at the Grotowski Institute in Wrocaw, since 2011).
From 1988 to 2006 Vassiliev’s productions were presented almost annually at the Avignon Festival (Six Characters in Search of an Author, 1988; Iliad. 23rd Chant, 2006; Mozart and Salieri). In 2008 his directing course graduates presented their work in the official programme of the festival (Platon/Magritte Evening, Moliere’s A Versailles Improvisation). He has won many awards and honors, including the European Prize for New Theatre Realities (Taormina, 1990), the Chaos Prize (Agrigente, 1992), the Stanislavski Award (Moscow, 1988 and 1997). In 2008 UNESCO honored him as World Theatre Ambassador. The French government made him a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (1989), a Knight of the Order of Academic Palms (2005) and a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2006).

Pirandello. Grafted. Etude Practice

Laboratory prepared inside the “Masters in Residence” programme


Calendar of work for Anatoly Vassiliev’s research seminar on acting techniques
• 7 –11 April 2011: workshops led by Anatoly Vassiliev
• 16 May – 20 June 2011: etude work with an international group of actors on scenes from Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard; a series of lectures by Anatoly Vasiliev on dramatic scene construction and analysis
• 17 October – 12 November 2011: work entitled Chekhov’s Dialogue, based on Anton Chekhov’s short stories, The Duel and The Story of an Unknown Man
• 5 March – 10 June 2012: laboratory work on dramas by Luigi Pirandello
• 8–22 October 2012: work with ten actors on precise structures of action using improvisation tools, focused on Luigi Pirandello’s drama Grafted
• 23 & 25 October, 6 & 7 December 2012: Pirandello. Grafted. Etude Practice, open laboratory sessions