Casting Announced For Maly Drama Theatre’s Theatre Royal Haymarket Season Along With a Series of Special Supporting Events Celebrating Banned Texts



The internationally acclaimed Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg return to London for the first time in over a decade to play a highly anticipated ten-show engagement, opening at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket on May 8thDescribed by Peter Brook as ‘the finest ensemble theatre in Europe’, casting is today announced for their forthcoming UK premiere of Vasily Grossman’s magnum opus, Life and Fateand their critically acclaimed production of Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya.

The 28-strong cast sees Peoples’ Artist of Russia, Stanislavsky and Golden Soffit Award-winner Sergey Kuryshev, who has been a part of the company since 1989, lead both Life and Fate as Viktor Shtrum andUncle Vanya in the titular role.


Banned because of the parallels it drew between Nazism and Soviet Communism, Life and Fate, is a sweeping panorama of Soviet Society and an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single Jewish family, the Shtrum’s. From Nazi concentration camps to the Gulags of Siberia and the Soviet nuclear programme, as the battle of Stalingrad looms large the characters must work out their destinies in a world torn by ideological tyranny and war.

Kuryshev is joined in Lev Dodin’s epic adaptation of Grossman’s masterpiece, by Tatiana Shestakova (as Anna Shtrum, Viktor’s mother). Shestakova has acted with the Maly Drama Theatre since 1984 and her credits with the company include the role of Anna in Stars in the Morning Sky – the production which saw the company become the first international company to win an Olivier Award in 1989. Elena Solomonova appears as Victor’s wife, Lyudmila. Nadia, the Shtrum’s daughter, is played by Daria Rumyantseva.

Elizaveta Boyarskaya plays Lyudmila’s sister, Genia. Spotted by Dodin at the age of 16, she was cast in the production shortly thereafter and has played the part ever since, growing with the role over the past 15 years. Boyarskaya is known for her extensive work in Russian and international movies.

This critically acclaimed production, winner of the Golden Mask for best play, has toured around the world since its première in 2007, shining a light on the heart of 20th century darkness.


Vanya (Sergey Kuryshev), together with his niece Sonya (Ekatirina Tarasova), has sacrificed his life managing the estate of Professor Serebryakov (celebrated Russian film actor, Igor Ivanov), his former brother-in-law and Sonya’s father. But when the Professor returns from the city with his glamorous young wife Yelena (multi award-winning stage and screen actress Ksenia Rappoport) tensions spiral as their world is thrown upside down.

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

Biographies for the company, with a full list of credits for MDT and individual awards can be found in the attached document.

Press nights will be held for Life and Fate on Tuesday May 8th and Wednesday 9th and on Tuesday May 15th for Uncle Vanya. Both productions will be performed in Russian with English subtitles.

Belka Productions, in collaboration with The Maly Drama Theatre and their London presentation of Life and Fate, have partnered with JW3, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, to present two events in conjunction with the show that both explore and celebrate banned writing through the ages.

In an era of endless social media feeds and encroaching government control, the written word creates a new truth and collapses an old one every second. These special events examine banned texts, giving voice to silenced words and harnessing the power of language. 

Uncensored: A Celebration of Banned Writing through the Ages – Banned and Censored Playsexploring censored work in different cultural and historical contexts.

Thursday 10 May 2018, 7pm

Theatre Royal Haymarket | 18 Suffolk St, London SW1Y 4HT

Tickets £15 | Click HERE to reserve places

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 will 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 will be interspersed with live music and followed by a panel discussion.

Exploring Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate – Featuring an Interview with Lev Dodin

Thursday 17 May 2018, 7pm

JW3 | London Jewish Cultural Centre| 341-351 Finchley Rd, London NW3 6ET

Tickets £12.00 | Click HERE to reserve places

As part of this series, JW3 present a very special evening exploring Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which has been described as the War and Peace of the 20th century. The event will offer a rare insight into this novel about a Russian Jewish family in the Soviet Union during World War II. This event will also feature an exclusive interview with legendary theatre director Lev Dodin about his journey of adapting Grossman’s book for the stage.

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 Russian and the USSR, Golden Mask Awards and a Lawrence Olivier Award. In 2000 he received the European Theatre Award.

Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg’s Royal Theatre, Haymarket season is presented by

Oliver King and Ekaterina Kashyntseva for Belka Productions

with the support of Roman Abramovich, Sir Leonard Blavatnik, Yuri Shefler & Alexander Machkevitch.

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