Simon Callow Leads A Cast Of Actors In A Tour Of Troublesome Texts At Theatre Royal, Haymarket

Simon Callow Leads A Cast Of Actors In A Tour Of Troublesome Texts At Theatre Royal, HaymarketTo mark 50 years since the end of state theatre censorship in the UK, a team of actors led by Simon Callow will perform 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.

After the performance, there will be a panel discussion featuring leading figureheads in the industry, including a senior member of the Maly Drama Theatre, playwrights Christopher Hampton and Gupreet Kaur Bhatti, free speech campaigner Jodie Ginsberg and theatre critic Michael Billington, discussing: Is Censorship Ever Good?

Since the beginning of theatrical history, governments and people have prevented the performance of play texts for political, social and cultural reasons. Directors and playwrights also frequently adapt banned and censored books for the stage - the event coincides with the premiere of Lev Dodin's adaptation of Vasily Grossman's once banned Life & Fate, and Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Moliere's once censored Tartuffe, both performing at the Haymarket this May.

In an era where freedom of speech if constantly re-examined, this event explores banned texts and the power of language and performance.

Tickets £15

This event is presented by Belka Productions and the London tour of the Maly Drama Theatre with their production of Life & Fate, in collaboration with JW3.

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 Top of FormBottom of Form

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.

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 8th. Described 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 Fate, and 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 and Uncle 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.

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.

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.

Born in 1944 in Siberia, Lev Dodin began his theatre studies as a child at the Leningrad Young Viewers' Theatre and went on to study with Boris Vulfovich Zon at the Leningrad Theatre Institute.

He made his directing debut in 1966 with the television production First Love and subsequently directed many shows at theatres in St. Petersburg, Moscow and abroad.

His theatre credits included It's a Family Affair, We'll Settle It Ourselves (Leningrad Young Viewers' Theatre) The Minor and Rosa Berndt (Leningrad Theatre of Drama and Comedy), A Gentle Creature with Oleg Borisov (Bolshoi Drama Theatre, Moscow Chekhov Art Theatre), The Golovlev Family (Moscow Chekhov Art Theatre), and Bankrupt (Finnish National Theatre); his opera credits include Elektra (Salzburg Festival), Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Maggio Musicale, Florence), The Queen of Spades (Amsterdam, Florence, Paris) and Mazeppa (La Scala).

He first worked with the Maly Drama Theatre in 1975, directing Karel Chapek's The Robber. His 1980 staging of Abramov's The House was instrumental in developing his relationship with the company, and his became its artistic director in 1983, since when notable productions have included Brothers and Sisters, Lord of the Flies, Stars in the Morning Sky, Gaudeaumus, The Possessed, Desire Under the Elms, Claustrophobia, The Cherry Orchard, A Play With No Name and Chevengur.

In 1967 he began teaching an acting and directing and is currently a professor at the St Petersburg Academy of Theatrical Arts, where he chairs the stage direction department.

He has nurtured many generations of actors and directors and has held masterclasses at drama colleges in the UK, France, Japan and the USA.

Today, the Maly Drama Theatre brings together many of Dodin's past and recent students and in 1992 it joined the Union of Theatres in Europe; in 1998 it was the third theatre granted the status of Theatre of Europe.


Belka Productions is a UK based Production Company, founded by Oliver King and Oleg Mirochnikov, dedicated to promoting Anglo-Russian and Eastern European cultural exchange. The company's production credits include Andrei Konchalovsky's Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya (Wyndham's), The Sovremennik Theatre Season (Piccadilly Theatre), Donkey Heart (Trafalgar Studios) and A Warsaw Melody (Arcola). Belka Productions is part of Wild Yak (

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