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Feeling Space, Making Space: Mikhail Chekhov and Theatre Design. A talk by Sinéad Rushe

Mikhail Chekhov (1891-1955) was one of the most renowned Russian actors and pioneering acting teachers of the twentieth century. The emphasis in his teaching was on the imagination and psychophysical acting. However, what is less known, is that he also elaborated a rich set of ideas about scenography and theatre design. In this talk, award-winning theatre director Sinéad Rushe provides a fresh look at this relatively under-appreciated side of Chekhov’s work, that she is presently researching. Drawing upon unpublished materials from the Michael Chekhov Studio/Dartington Hall archives in Devon, and in particular Chekhov’s own set, costume and character drawings, Sinéad will demonstrate how Chekhov’s interest in design was an important extension of his embodied acting practice and is essential to a complete understanding of his technique. She will consider his legacy in the light of current thinking on scenography, and investigate its significance and value to contemporary theatre designers.

Sinéad Rushe is an award-winning theatre director and Senior Lecturer in Acting and Movement at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. She is the author of Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique: A Practitioner’s Guide, (Bloomsbury Methuen), and the co-translator into French of four plays by Howard Barker (published by Editions Théâtrales, Paris).

Directing credits include Night Just Before the Forests (2018 Macau Arts Festival, China), Concert with Colin Dunne and Mel Mercier (Barbican, London, Dublin Dance Festival and CND, Paris; winner of Gradam Comharcheoil TG4 Award 2018), Gogol’s Diary of a Madman with Living Pictures (Sherman Cymru, Cardiff & international tour), Something or Nothing with Guy Dartnell (Lilian Baylis, Sadler’s Wells, The Place Theatre & tour) and Out of Time with Colin Dunne (The Pit, Barbican, The Baryshnikov Arts Centre, New York & international tour; nominated for an Olivier and Dance Critics’ Circle Award).