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Directed by Lev Dodin

The legendary Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg - described by Peter Brook as ‘the finest ensemble theatre in Europe’ - returned to London in May 2018 for a strictly limited engagement, for the first time in over a decade.

They presented the UK première of Vasily Grossman’s epic novel Life and Fate along with their celebrated production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

Under the artistic directorship of Lev Dodin - one of the most celebrated theatre practitioners working today - the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg has become one of the greatest theatres in the world. During his 35 year tenure many of Dodin’s shows have won international awards including state prizes of Russia and the USSR, Golden Mask Awards and a Lawrence Olivier Award (becoming the first international company to do so for Stars in the Morning Sky, 1989). In 2000 he received the European Theatre Award.

Oliver King and Ekaterina Kashyntseva for Belka Productions were thrilled to produce the Season, managed by Wild Yak.

The Season ran for two weeks with total audiences numbering over 8,000 people. 


It’s early 1943; Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia are in a bitter struggle for their very survival. Life and Fate is a sweeping panorama of Soviet Society, an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single Jewish family, the Shtrums.

Vasily Grossman’s celebrated novel, adapted for the stage for the first time, was banned because of the parallels it drew between Nazism and Soviet Communism. From Nazi concentration camps to the Gulags of Siberia and the Soviet nuclear programme, the battle of Stalingrad looms large as the characters work out their destinies in a world torn by ideological tyranny and war.

This critically acclaimed production, winner of the Golden Mask for best play, has toured around the world to great acclaim since 2007.


Vanya, together with his niece Sonya, has sacrificed his life managing the estate of Professor Serebryakov, his former brother-in-law and Sonya’s father. But when the Professor returns from the city with his glamorous young wife Yelena, tensions spiral as their world is thrown upside down.

Chekhov’s tragicomic masterpiece of dashed dreams and thwarted and eternal love returns to the West End in Lev Dodin’s definitive interpretation of this classic play.


Thursday 10 May 2018, Theatre Royal Haymarket

From Molière’s Tartuffe in 1664 to Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behtzi in 2004, governments and theatres alike have prevented the performance of play texts for political, social and cultural reasons. Directors and playwrights alike also frequently adapt banned and censored books for the stage – Lev Dodin’s adaptation of Vasily Grossman’s Life & Fate, being one such example.

Actors, including Simon Callow and Paul Anderson read excerpts from a selection of canonical plays, and books adapted for the stage, that have been banned and censored in a variety of countries and time periods. The evening was interspersed with live music and followed by a panel discussion. Panelists included free speech campaigner Jodie Ginsberg, theatre critic Michael Billington, director Lev Dodin, and playwright Christopher Hampton.  This event was presented alongside the Maly Drama Season by Wild Yak's sister company, Belka Productions, in collaboration with JW3. 




★★★★★  "Astonishing"  -  The Guardian (Critics' Choice)

★★★★★  "Remarkable"  

Financial Times ​(Critics' Choice)

★★★★★  "Riveting"  

Morning Star ​

★★★★★  "Beautifully executed"  

The Stage 

★★★★★  "The greatest ensemble"

Arts Desk

★★★★★  "Harrowing"

Sunday Express

★★★★★  "A masterclass"

The Upcoming

★★★★★  "Gut wrenching"

Broadway World

★★★★★  "You won't see a better Vanya"

London Theatre

★★★★  "Extraordinarily powerful " The Independent

★★★★  "Unflinching"

Evening Standard

★★★★  "Gripping"

The Telegraph (Critics Choice)

★★★★  "Superb"

The i

★★★★  "Thrilling"


​★★★★  "Extraordinary ensemble"

The Times

★★★★  "A beautiful masterpiece"

Radio Times​

​★★★★  "Transcends frontiers"

Sunday Times (Critics' Choice)​

​★★★★  "Fascinating"

Theatre News 

★★★★  "Profound"

Blanche Marvin

★★★★  - Jewish Chronicle

"One of the world's most important directors" The Economist


(In order of appearance) 


Anna Shtrum - Tatiana Shestakova

Viktor Shtrum, her son - Sergey Kuryshev

Liudmila, his wife - Elena Solomonova

Nadia, their daughter - Daria Rumyantseva

Genia, Liudmila’s sister - Elizaveta Boyarskaya

Abarchuk, Liudmila’s first husband -   

Vladimir Seleznev

Krymov - Alexey Zubarev

Monidze - Sergey Seregin

Barchatov - Igor Chernevich

Ugarov - Pavel Gryaznov

Pavlukov  - Ivan Chepura

Guard - Oleg Gaianov

Shishakov - Alexander Koshkarev

Kovchenko - Igor Chernevich

Sevastianov - Oleg Ryazantsev

Sokolov - Stanislav Nikolskiy

Mostovskoy - Igor Ivanov (8, 9, 11, 12 May), Sergey Kozyrev (18, 19, 20 May)

Liss - Oleg Dmitriev

Ikonnikov - Oleg Ryazantsev

Ershov - Andrei Kondratiev

Osipov - Vladimir Zakharyev

Novikov - Sergey Vlasov

Getmanov - Alexander Koshkarev

Runner - Nikita Vasiliev

Vershkov - Nikita Sidorov

KGB officer - Artur Kozin

Driver - Oleg Gaianov


Professor Serebriakov - Igor Ivanov

Elena, his wife - Ksenia Rappoport

Sonia, his daughter from first marriage -  Ekaterina Tarasova

M-me Voinitskaia - Natalia Akimova

Voinitskiy Ivan (Uncle Vanya), her son -

Sergei Kuryshev

Doctor Astrov - Igor Chernevich

Telegin Ilia (Waffles), improverished gentry -    Oleg Ryazantsev

Marina, old nurse - Vera Bikova

Servant - Ivan Chepura                                                                                     


May 2018

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