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Pushkin House in association with the Stanislavski Centre, Rose Bruford College, is delighted to present an exclusive performance of the play “Misha and Lena” by ground-breaking Russian theatre company Teatr.doc.

This deeply moving play is about Mikhail Ugarov and Elena Gremina, the founders of Teatr.doc using material from their social media posts over many years, telling the story of their own relationship and that of the theatre, and the problems they faced right up to their untimely deaths in April and May 2018. Gremina and Ugarov brought a new voice to Russian theatre, and documented political repressions in Russia over recent years.

The play is by Zarema Zaudinova, who trained closely with Ugarov and Gremina over the last three years of their lives, and translated into English by Sasha Dugdale. The play premiered at Pushkin House in October 2018 and is back due to popular demand.

In English with Russian surtitles.

Read by Sasha Dugdale and Jonathan Cullen. Followed by Q&A with Zarema Zaudinova, during which she will talk about the history of Teatr.doc & its future. A full list of performers coming soon.

The play “Misha and Lena” has been featured in Financial Times.


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 the same year, his wife and co-founder of Teatr.doc, Yelena Gremina, died at the age of 61 of kidney and heart failure.


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.


Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and, until recently, editor of the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation. Dugdale has published two collections of translations of Russian poetry. Birdsong on the Seabed (Bloodaxe) by Elena Shvarts, was a Poetry Book Society choice and shortlisted for the Popescu and Academica Rossica Translation Awards. A fourth collection of her own poems, Joy, is published by Carcanet in November 2017 and is a PBS Winter Choice. Her poem 'Joy' was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016.


Jonathan Cullen is a British actor of stage, film and television. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Cullen's father was Tony Cullen, a founding member of the Northern Sinfonia. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, and went on to take a French and Philosophy degree at New College, Oxford. Despite his involvement with the Oxford University Dramatic Society and acting in thirteen productions during his time at New College, he graduated with a first-class degree in 1982.

After graduating at Oxford, he went on to train for a career in drama at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, leaving in May 1985 to appear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, making his professional debut. Alongside his acting career, Cullen has also worked as a director and as a teacher at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, the American Conservatory Theater School (San Francisco) and the British American Drama Academy (London).

This event is organised in association with the Stanislavski Centre, Rose Bruford College’  and ARCC.


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