The Maly Drama Theatre – Theatre De L'Europe, Artistic Director Lev Dodin


The St. Petersburg Maly Drama Theatre — Theatre De L’Europe (The MDT), under the direction of Lev Dodin, is one of the most well-attended and well-loved theatres in the Second Capital of Russia, and its productions have long been described as legendary. The MDT has been staging the classical works of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Ostrovsky, Chekhov, Platonov and other significant play-writes for many years. In contrast to the popular modern minimalist drama, each production that comes out of the MDT’s workshops manifests careful preparation and the full immersion of the actors. For Lev Dodin’s group, there are no “minor” details in a play: each movement, each word, each piece of costume and decoration are a product of careful, meticulous work.

The MDT is one of two Russian theatres included in the Union of the Theatres of Europe. Its Creative Director Lev Dodin is also an Honorary President of the Union that gathers under its auspice 23 theatres from across 15 European countries. The status of “Theatre De L’Europe” is held only by three theatres in the world — The Odeon in Paris, Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, and the St. Petersburg Maly Drama Theatre.

Despite already being loved all over the world, the productions of the MDT have for a long time paradoxically remained relatively unknown to the Russian public. The fact was that the star-studded company, whose work has repeatedly received national and international awards, like everyone else, acutely felt the difficulties of the early 90s. Back then, the touring connections between the Russian cities have almost ceased, and outside the two capitals, audiences had to be content with commercial productions and vaudeville theatres. Most repertory theatres fell into disrepair and to this day many of the Russian regions are still experiencing real cultural starvation.

That is why Lev Dodin’s company decided to revive its Russian tours and bring its best productions to the provinces. The first tour of this kind took place in 2007 and visited Archangelsk, Kazan and Veliky Novgorod. In 2008, the MDT travelled to perform in Kaliningrad and Irkutsk, and in 2009 visited Stary Oskol, Zheleznogorsk and Novotroitsk. In the Stary Oskol and Zheleznogorsk, the MDT played Uncle Vanya, in Novotroitsk — Brothers and Sisters. In 2010, the Maly Drama Theatre showed in Petrozavodsk its Snow Queen, followed by The Moscow Choir in Vologda, Uncle Vanya in Yalta, and Brothers and Sisters in Stary Oskol. In 2011, the Novotroitsk audience had a chance to enjoy the theatre’s family production Snow Queen.

In 2014 the tour of Lev Dodin’s theatre came to the cities of the Belgorod and Kursk region. The residents of Stary Oskol, Zheleznogorsk and Gubkin saw Intrigue and Love, a play which had won a Golden Mask award for the best dramatic performance in 2014 and a Golden Sofit award for the best director’s work.

In 2015 MDT revisited the Belgorod, Kursk and Orenburg regions. The theatre brought to Stary Oskol and Zheleznogorsk Three Sisters play, which won the Golden Sofit Theatre Award and the K.S Stanislavski Award in the category Event of the Season (2010/2011). Spectators in Gubkin, Orsk and Novotroitsk saw Uncle Vanya, which won the Golden Sofit Theatre Award, the Golden Mask National Theatre Award (Best Director — L. Dodin, Best Actor — S. Kuryshev) and the Association of Italian Theatre Critics Award.

In 2016, residents of the Belgorod, Kursk, and Orenburg regions were able to see Mumu, one of the oldest plays of the Maly Drama Theatre

The project was implemented with the support of the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation.