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Anglo-Russian Research Group Reading Group:Theodore Komisarjevsky and the London Theatre

The focus of this session will be the Russian theatre director Theodore Komisarjevsky, who lived and worked in Britian between1919 and 1939. During his time in the country, Komisarjevsky staged a series of productions at the Shakespeare MemorialTheatre, regularly directed leading actors such as John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft and Charles Laughton, and has often beencredited with making Chekhov popular with British audiences. However, Komisarjevsky's work was always interpreted throughthe prism of his national identity, where critics argued that his successes and his failures were due to him being foreign and, inparticular, Russian. I am interested in examining how Komisarjevsky negotiated his status as a Russian emigre in inter-warBritain with reference to his own writings and whether his experience was comparable to other Russian emigres in Britain atthe time.

Philippa Burt is currently completing her doctorate at Goldsmiths, University of London under Professor Maria Shevtsova. Thefocus of her thesis is the ideal of ensemble practice in twentieth-century British theatre, where she charts the underlyinginfluence of Russian theatre on British directors.

The Anglo-Russian Research Network organises termly reading groups for people interested in the interactions between British and Russian culture and politics in the period 1880-1950. They are informal events with plenty of discussion and wine. More details of this and the previous reading groups, including podcasts of the last three, are available online. Anglo-Russian Research Network blog

*Entry is free and all are welcome, but it would be helpful if you could let Rebecca Beasley ( ) and/or Matthew Taunton ( ) know if you plan to attend.

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