A Russian Dream comes to Stratford and Edinburgh

2 July 2012

World Shakespeare Festival Update

A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It)
A Chekhov International Theatre Festival/Dmitry Krymov's Laboratory/School of Dramatic Art Theatre production
Commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival
Directed by Dmitry Krymov
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon 10 – 18 August 2012
Press night: Tuesday 14 August 2012, 7pm
King's Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival: 24 – 26 August 2012
In Russian with English surtitles
RSC Box Office: www.rsc.org.uk or 0844 800 1110

From Russia comes the world premiere of Dmitry Krymov's unique version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. His productions are renowned internationally for their innovative staging and breathtaking visuals, costumes and sets – making him one of the most original theatre directors working in Russia today.

Amongst the sawdust and chaos of a theatre that isn't ready yet, the mechanicals are rehearsing to perform in front of a specially-invited audience that includes members of Britain's 'theatrical royalty'. There are songs to rehearse, acrobatics to master and lines to learn, but with their big performance looming they are starting to get nervous. And they haven't even begun to train their acrobatic dog...

Dmitry Krymov said of this project: 'We are not using Shakespeare's original text. This is not a translation of the play. It is more about the themes of Shakespeare's plays, and we tell the story with our own words. The play is called A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It). So we're playing with the names of Shakespeare's plays. It's like, for example, putting on and billing a play as Hamlet but making the story more like Othello. I want people to leave the theatre wondering which of Shakespeare's plays they have actually seen. I like to blur the boundaries of his work.'

On the cast and creative he continues: 'The designer is one of my former students, Vera Martynova. The acting team is a mix of actors from our laboratory and a group of specially invited acrobats, animal trainers and clowns. A new member of the cast is the singer Alex Kokhanov. He has an amazing voice. The other star in the cast apart from Valery Garkalin is Liya Akhedzhakova. Some members of the technical crew will also appear on stage and perform their parts. Generally, in this production, everyone will play several roles.'

World Shakespeare Festival Director Deborah Shaw said 'The Festival has commissioned contemporary theatre artists from around the world who are pushing the boundaries of theatre, taking Shakespeare as their inspiration. Krymov's work is devised with his company, in a series of striking, poetic visual metaphors which are constructed and deconstructed in front of our eyes. They are dream-like, phantasmagorical spectacles; the workings of the brilliant imagination of this visual artist and theatre designer turned director.

'In Russia, his work is feted by festivals, critics and audiences alike, and seen as being at the forefront of contemporary theatre. In partnership with Chekhov International Festival, this production has been specially created for the RSC's new theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and the King's Theatre Edinburgh, as part of the World Shakespeare Festival residency at Edinburgh International Festival. Where better to introduce the work of this Russian visionary to British audiences.'

Joining Krymov on the creative team are: Vera Martynova (set and costume design), Kuzma Bodrov (composer), Viktor Platonov (puppets), Ivan Vinogradov (lighting design) and Andrey Zachesov (sound design).

The performers are: Liya Akhedzhakova, Ivan Barakin, Pavel Balbukh, Vadim Dubrovin, Valery Garkalin, Natalia Gorchakova, Maria Gulik, Valery Guryanov, Alexey Kokhanov, Andrey Loshkin, Sergey Melkonyan, Sergey Nazarov, Boris Opletaev, Anna Sinyakina, Anton Telkov, Mikail Umanets, Anatoly Sushtov and Vladimir Shustov plus of course Venya the Jack Russell Terrier.

For further information, please contact nada.zakula@rsc.org.uk, 01789 412622 or 07831 766086.

For further information on the World Shakespeare Festival, please contact elsie.king@rsc.org.uk, 01789 272417 or 07867 802489.

For press tickets and Midlands media enquiries, please contact:
dean.asker@rsc.org.uk, 01789 412660 or 0778 9937759.

Notes to Editors:

About Dmitry Krymov, the director of A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It).
Born in 1954, he has directed and designed various productions in Moscow which have established him as one of the most original directorial voices of his generation.
Krymov and his 'laboratory' present visually stunning, symbolic productions where every moment is original, hugely inventive and surprising. In Moscow, his performances are packed full of audience members hugely anticipating his next vision, waiting to be surprised and entertained.
Having designed over a hundred productions in Moscow throughout the '80s and '90s, Krymov fuses art, prose, poetry and popular culture to reimagine, with the help of his company, famous stories through a world of expressive and striking design.
In his productions, the design goes on a journey in the same way that the characters do. Set changes, buildings are created and images transformed. The actors often work with scene and props in the performance and construct objects before the audiences' eyes.

The World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organizations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe. It runs from 23 April to November and forms part of London 2012 Festival which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012.
For further details visit the WSF website.  
The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as Founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.
Social media links at Facebook and Twitter.

Chekhov International Theatre Festival
The Chekhov International Theatre Festival was first held in Moscow in 1992, and introduced Russia to world masterpieces, such as plays by Peter Brook, Giorgio Strehler, Peter Stein and Otomar Krejca.
Since 1998, the Festival has focused more on internationally renowned directors who were little known to Russian audience, such as Ariane Mnoushkine, Robert Wilson, Christoph Marthaler, Krystian Lupa and Tadashi Suzuki. Apart from theatrical works, other forms of performing arts, such as opera and ballet, were included in the 1998 Festival. In 2001, the Chekhov Festival added the Experimental Program and the Street Theatres of the World, which was directed by Slava Polunin. 2001 was also the year when the World Theatre Olympics were held in Moscow – a sign of recognition of the Chekhov Festival's efforts in introducing international theatre to Russian audience. The Fifth and Sixth Chekhov Festivals highlighted Japanese and Brazilian theatre, offering a window to Asia and Latin America.

In 2010 the Ninth Chekhov Festival presented productions of various genres, including drama, circus and dance, focusing on the plays by Anton Chekhov, Russian famous writer, whose 150th anniversary was celebrated all over the world. The program of the Festival included the productions after Chekhov, about Chekhov, to Chekhov. Among them performances directed by Frank Castorf, Mats Ek, Gerardo Vera, Josef Nadj, Wajdi Mouawad, Daniele Finzi Pasca, Nacho Duato, Lin Hwai-min and others. Co-productions with Russian theatre companies included Ta-ra-ra-bum-bia directed by Dmitry Krymov.

The X Chekhov Festival was held in Moscow in Summer from May 25 to July 31, 2011.

In association with other international organizations the Chekhov International Theatre Festival also presents co-productions with foreign directors and Russian actors. Aside from performances, the Festival also holds round-tables, play readings, workshops which give numerous opportunities for artists to exchange ideas and experiences.
The Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Moscow City Government.

• Theatre School of Dramatic Art
The theatre was founded in 1988 by the Russian Theatre Director Anatoly Vasiliev.

The theatre is founded on the concept of the “theatre-laboratory” and artistic principles developed by Anatoly Vasiliev. Anatoly Vasiliev's disciple and follower, an actor and a director Igor Yatsko currently runs the theatre.

Directors Dmitry Krymov, Igor Lysov, Alexander Ogarev, Vladimir Berzin and Konstantin Mishin work on productions at the theatre. “School of Dramatic Art” productions have consistently won Russia's main theatre award - The Golden Mask.

In contrast to a repertory theatre company, the purpose of 'theatre-laboratory' is to allow time for creative experiment. However, the company also has a repertoire of theatre productions which are the result of this laboratory creative process.


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