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Teatr.Doc Performance by Zaudinova, Sasha Dugdale and John Freedman: Devoted to Mikhail Ugarov and Elena Gremina

С Михаил Угаров, Елена Гремина, Ксения Ларина, Варвара Фаэр и Марина Боиsко в Премьера спектакля БОЛОТНОЕ ДЕЛО в Театре.doc. 2015.jpg

Reading of a new play about Mikhail Ugarov and Elena Gremina, the founders of Teatr.doc, the leading Moscow documentary theatre company, that makes plays about current events in Russia, who tragically died earlier this year. The play will be read by Zarema Zaudinova who wrote the play based on the social media posts of Ugarov and Gremina, with Sasha Dugdale who translated the play especially for this premiere, and Moscow-based theatre critic John Freedman.

Teatr.doc was founded in Moscow in 2002 by a group of writers to stage their own documentary-style writing. Teatr.doc emerged from a series of master-classes held in Moscow for Russian actors, directors and playwrights by London’s Royal Court Theatre (the principal school of verbatim theatre) in 1999-2000. Initially, Teatr.doc stuck to a single method: practically all its plays were created on the basis of long interviews with actual people. That is, the actors, director, and playwright were focused on preserving the speech of those who had lived through whatever event they were recreating.

At first, Teatr.doc's playwrights and directors focused mainly on social issues such as the plight of prisoners, migrant workers, drug addicts and those suffering from HIV. John Freedman of the Moscow Times notes that from 2010 onwards, the plays became increasingly critical of the government. From this time onwards the theatre itself began to be actively persecuted.

Playwright, director and Teatr.doc founder Mikhail Ugarov died at the age of 62 in early April, 2018. In May this year, his wife and co-founder of Teatr.doc, Yelena Gremina, died at the age of 61 of kidney and heart failure.

Teatr.doc playwright and director Zarema Zaudinova has created the play based on the diaries of Ugarov and Gremina and  their records in Live Journal and Facebook from 2005 to 2018. Zarema says, "this is a story about how the state was slowly killing two artists : it's very obvious from their records, how these evictions, interrogations, accusations as well аs what was happening around, destroyed their lives."

Gremina and Ugarov changed Russian theatre; for tens of thousands of people all over the world, they were the theatre they created, in many ways it was a manifestation of their characters. The nurtured playwrights and actors, and bravely brought all the main events of their country to the stage as they happened. In the end, Zaudinova says, they paid for this with their lives.

This will be the first UK performance or reading of the play that will be premiered in Russia in September of this year.

Zarema Zaudinova  trained closely with Ugarov and Gremina over the last three years.

Please join us for an event on 20th October about the history and previous productions of teatr.doc For more information please follow this link.


Zarema Zaudinova:

Director, assistant artistic director, co-curator of the festival "Hunting for Reality".

Graduated from the Marina Razbezhkina and Mikhail Ugarov School of Documentary Film Making  and Theatre.

In the Teatr.doc, she staged the plays - "Studio Apartment in Izmaylovo" and "Associates" ("Bolotnaya 2") and worked on several plays as an assistant director.

John Freedman


American writer, translator and former theatre critic who has lived in Moscow since 1988. His play Dancing, Not Dead won the new play competition conducted by The Internationalists in 2011, and was performed in various languages in Romania, Germany, Russia and the United States. His short play Five Funny Tales from Buenos Aires has been performed frequently in the U.S. and the U.K. With Jennifer Johnson he co-authored Double Edge Theatre’s production of The Firebird in 2010. He has published and/or edited 12 English-language books about Russian theatre, and was the theatre critic of The Moscow Times English-language daily newspaper from 1992 to 2015.

Sasha Dugdale


Sasha Dugdale is a Writer-in-residence at St John's Cambridge, poet, translator and playwright. She has published four collections of poetry with Carcanet, Notebook, The Estate, Red House, and Joy, which won the 2017 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice Award and the title poem from which won the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. In 2017 Sasha was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize and from 2012 to 2017 she was editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. She is co-director of the Winchester Poetry Festival.

Please see the event on 20th October also related to teatr.doc here.

This is a joint event with ARCC. In English with Russian translations.