The Artistic Director

Valery
FOKIN
The Artistic Director

Among Valery Fokin’s many titles are the Honoured Artist of Russia, a four-time Russian State Prize Awardee, and the Honoured Artist of Poland. He has been the Artistic Director of the Alexandrinsky Theatre since 2003, and a member of the High Council for Culture and Art to the President of the Russian Federation since 2006. Since 2011 he has worked as the President of Vs. Meyerhold Theatre and Culture fund. He has also presided at the Russian theatre directors’ guild since 2012.

Valery Fokin was born in Moscow in 1946. After graduating from Schukin Theatre School at the Vakhtangov theatre, where he was taught by B.E. Zakhava and M.R. Ter-Zakharova, he spent fifteen years as a director at the Sovremennik Theatre in Moscow, where his every performance attracted keen interest of the viewers and critics. The director worked with the plays of Nabokov, Vampilov, Rozov, Albee and other Russian and foreign drama masters. 

In 1985 Valery Fokin became the Head of the Moscow M.N. Ermolova Theatre, with the first performances by the young Artistic Director greatly advancing the theatre’s popularity. According to the media’s unanimous verdict, the very first Fokin’s Ermolova Theatre performance Speak Up… signified the turn to the new direction. The performance brought Valery Fokin his first Russian Federation State Prize for Outstanding Work of Art and Culture.

The years 1975 to 1979 saw Valery Fokin teaching in the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, then teaching in the Krakow High Theatre School in Poland during 1993-1994 and then the Toen Theatre in Tokyo, Japan. He also hosted a workshop at Theatre Directing courses in Spain, Sweden and Bulgaria.

Since 1988, Valery Fokin has presided at Meyerhold’s Legacy Preservation Commission. In 1991, following the Commission’s initiative and supported by the Russian Theatre Employees Union and the Russian Architects Union, the Meyerhold Centre (MC) was founded.  By the Moscow Government decision, in 1999 the Centre was given a unitary enterprise status. In 2000 Valery Fokin was awarded the Russian State Prize in the category of education for his efforts for preservation, research and development of Vs. Meyerhold’s legacy, and for creating the Meyerhold Theatre and Culture Centre.
The Centre moved into a new building on February 12, 2001. Valery Fokin was the Manager and Artistic Director of the Centre from its foundation until September 2011, when he became its President.

In 1996, two Valery Fokin festivals were organised in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  They were called Valery Fokin. Three performances on the Arena (Moscow, March 1996) and Valery Fokin Metamorphoses (Saint Petersburg, the Na Liteinom Theatre, November-December 1996).

Valery Fokin deals continuously in his art with the keenest and the most painful questions of the recent past, which had been long forbidden to discuss and which are still current issues today. His performances, both modern and classic, are characterised with deep philosophic metaphors, keen artistic view, theatrical imagination and deep psychological into the characters’ psyche. It is natural that Fokin’s directing style attracts interest abroad. There are Fokin performances shown in the USA, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and France. The shows are not only masterfully directed, but also reveal the director’s original interpretation of well-known characters.

Fokin’s Room in a NN… Hotel (the MC, Moscow, 1994), The Metamorphose by Kafka (the MC together with the Satirikon Theatre, 1995), More Van Gogh (the MC together with O.Tabakov Theatre, 1998), Tatiana Repina by A. Chekhov (the Avignon Festival, France together with MYVT, 1998), The Inspector General by N. Gogol (the Alexandrinsky Theatre together with the Meyerhold Centre, 2002) were highly acclaimed by the theatre-going public in Russia and abroad. They are not only full of visual appeal, dynamic character and paradox, they also reveal the director’s personal search for the new theatre language, which makes it possible to consider Fokin one of the leaders of the modern European Stage.

The Ten Valery Fokin Performances Festival, organised in February 2016 in Saint Petersburg, provided a good insight into the director’s artistic development and growing creative experience since his first Alexandrinsky Theatre performance in 2002.    

Awards and Prizes

2006

  • GREAT SERVICE TO MOTHERLAND ORDER, IV Class – ‘for great contribution to the development of Russian theatrical art and a long creative life.’ By the Order of the President of the Russian Federation # 172, signed on February 28, 2006
  • Badge of Merit for services rendered to the city of Saint Petersburg

2008

  • Russian National GOLDEN MASK Theatre Prize, the jury’s special prize For Restoring the Glory of the Alexandrinsky Theatre
  • Gloria Artis Order, Poland’s highest Art and Culture award
  • The Meyerhold Prize
  • The Stanislavsky Prize

2010

  • Great Service to Motherland Order, Third Class – for great contribution to the development of Russian theatre and a long creative life. By Order of the President of the Russian Federation # 657, June 10, 2010

2011

  • The President of the Russian Federation’s Certificate of Honour For great contribution to Russian culture and many years of successful work (The R.F. President Medvedev’s order On Awards # 762-rp, November 22, 2011.)

2013

  • The Russian National Andrei Mironov Prize, in the category For Service to Russian Theatr

2015

  • The International Gogol Prize

2016

  • GREAT SERVICE TO MOTHERLAND ORDER, II Class – for great contribution to the development of Russian theatrical art and a long creative life. by Order of the President of the Russian Federation # 17, January 18, 2016
  • Saint Petersburg Government Art and Culture Prize in the Theatre category – for contributing to development of Saint-Petersburg theatre traditions
  • Apostle Peter’s Silver Medal for hard work for the benefit of the Holy Church and to celebrate the 70th birthday.
  • 500th anniversary of Mother of God’s Assumption Cathedral of Tikhvin Mother of God’s Assumption Monastery Commemorative medal

Theatre Performances directed by Valery Fokin

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Another Man’s Wife and a Husband Under the Bed (Schukin Theatre School, Moscow, 1968)
  • V. Rozov, From Evening to Noon (Schukin Theatre School, Moscow, 1968)
  • L. Filatov, The time of Good Intentions (Schukin Theatre School, Moscow, 1969)
  • N. Gogol, The Nose, Guy de Maupassant the Cake (Schukin Theatre School, Moscow, 1970)
  • M. Roschin, Valentin and Valentina (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1971)
  • A. Volodin, Don’t Say Good-bye to Your Loved Ones  (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1972)
  • A. Vampilov, Provincial Jokes (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1973)
  • V. Rozov, Four Drops (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1974)
  • M. Shatrov, The Weather Forecast For Tomorrow (Together with G. Volchek and I. Raikhelgauz, The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1971)
  • V. Rozov, Four Drops (The Kokhanovsky Theatre, Opole, Poland, 1976)
  • F. Dostoevsky, On I Will Go, On I Will Go! (based on Notes from Underground and the Dream Of the Ridiculous Man, The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1976)
  • W. Shakespeare, Hamlet (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1978)
  • E. Vetemaa, the Monument (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1978)
  • A. Vampilov, The Elder Son (The Kokhanovsky Theatre, Opole, Poland, 1976)
  • A. Kazantsev, I Will Come Back to You Come Spring (The Tabakov Studio, Moscow, 1978)
  • Y. Semenov, Search 891 (together with G. Volchek and M. Ali-Hussein, The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1979)
  • A. Osetska, The Taste of Cherry (interpreted together  with M. Ali-Hussein, The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1979)
  • N. Gogol, The Inspector General (St Yarach Theatre, Lodz, Poland, 1980)
  • A. de Musse, Lorenzacco (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1980)
  • V. Gurkin, Love and Doves (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1982)
  • N. Gogol, The Inspector General  (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1983)
  • M. Mishin, The Faces (State Miniature Theatre, Moscow, 1983)
  • A. Vampilov, The Elder Son (Pech National Theatre, Hungary, 1984)
  • E. Albee, Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf? (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1984
  • V. Gurkin, The Risk (based on O. Kuvanov’s novel The Territory) (together with G. Volchek, (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1984
  • G. Baklanov, Forever Nineteen (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1985)
  • A. Buravsky, Speak Up… (based on the works of V. Ovechkin) (The Ermolova Theatre, Moscow, 1986). The performance was the State Prize of the Russian federation Awardee in 1987.
  • V. Dozortsev, The Last Visitor (The Ermolova Theatre, Moscow, 1987)
  • A. Vampilov, Last Summer in Chulimsk (Haudza Theatre, Tokyo, Japan, 1987)
  • A. Buravsky, The Second Year of Freedom (The Ermolova Theatre, Moscow, 1989)
  • V. Nabokov, Invitation to the Execution (The Ermolova Theatre, Moscow, 1989)
  • A. Vampilov, Last Summer in Chulimsk (Actors’ Theatre, Saint Paul, the USA, 1989)
  • N. Klimontovich, The Idiot (based on F. Dostoevsky) (Haudza Theatre, Tokyo, Japan, 1989)
  • V. Nabokov, Invitation to the Execution (new rendition) (The Ermolova Theatre Centre, Moscow, 1990)
  • M. Gorky, Vassa Zheleznova (Second Version) (Tri-Buhne Theater, Stuttgart, Germany, 1991)
  • N. Klimontovich, The Madwoman (based on F. Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot) (The Ermolova Theatre Centre, Moscow, 1991
  • N. Gogol, The Marriage (St. Jarach Theatre, Lodz, Poland, 1991)
  • L. Ustinov, The Snake Island (Am Neumarkt Theatre, Zurich, Switzerland, 1992)
  • Mystery-play based on V. Sidur’s sculptures (The Pekarsky Theatre, Moscow together with Meyerhold centre, Moscow, 1992)
  • N. Gogol, Dead Souls ( The Slovatsky Theatre, Krakov, Poland, 1993)
  • M. Gorky, Vassa Zheleznova (High School of Acting, Krakow,  Poland, 1993)
  • F. Dostoevsky, Bobok ( The Slovatsky Theatre, Krakov, Poland, 1993)
  • A. Ostrovky, Our Man ( The Slovatsky Theatre, Krakov, Poland, 1994)
  • N. Gogol, Room in NN…. Hotel (Meyerhold Centre, Moscow, 1994)
    State Prize of Russian Federation, 1994,  Russia’s Highest National Theatre Golden Mask Prize in the Best Performance category, 1995, the Crystal Turandot Prize in the Best Director’s Work category
  • F. Kafka, Metamorphose (Meyerhold Centre together with the Satirikon Theatre, Moscow, 1995 – special prize of the 32 BITEF Festival and the special prize of the Politika newspaper, Belgrade, 1998, Russia’s Highest National Theatre Golden Mask Prize in the Best Male Actor category, given to Konstantin Raikin (Gregor Zamza, 1996, , the Crystal Turandot Prize in the Best Performance category
  • A. Vampilov, 20 Minutes with an Angel (second rendition) (O. Tabakov’s jubilee celebration, Moscow, 1995)
    N. Klimontovich, The Karamazovs and Hell (based on the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky) (The Sovremennik Theatre, Moscow, 1996)
  • E. Radzinsky, The Last Night of the Last Tzar (BOGIS Theatre Agency, Moscow, 1996) The Crystal Turandot Prize in the Best Director’s Work category, 1997
  • A. Ostrovsky, Our Man (based on the play Enough Stupidity in Every Wise Man) (Young People’s Globus Theatre, Novosibirsk, 19
  • More Van Gogh (based on the dialogues by I. Saveliev) (The Meyerhold Centre together with the Tabakov Theatre, Moscow, 1998) Crystal Turandot Prize in the Best Director’s Work category, 1998
  • A. Ostrovsky, Our Man (based on the play Enough Stupidity in Every Wise Man) (the Polsky Theatre, Vrotslav, Poland, 1998)
  • A. Chekhov, Tatiana Repina (International Avignon Theatre Festival, France, together with MYVT, Avignon, 1998)
  • A. Chekhov, The Three Sisters (Finland’s National Theatre, Helsinki, 1999, special 10 International Baltiysky Dom Theatre Festival Prize
  • N. Kolyada (based on the works of  N. Gogol) Old World Love (Voropaev Theatre agency, Moscow, 1999)
  • Aristophanes, The Sky City a game based on the play Birds (open stage version) (a co-production of the Novosibirsk Young People’s Globus Theatre, St. B’chvarov Theatre and the Meyerhold centre, Varna, Bulgaria, June 2000)
  • Aristophanes, The Sky City (indoor stage version),  (Novosibirsk Globus Theatre, 2000)
  • A. Chekhov, The Marriage (St. Jarach Theatre, Lodz, Poland, 2001
  • Antonen Arto. Preview (The Meyerhold Centre, Moscow, 2001)
  • V. Semenovsky ,Arto and his Double (the Meyerhold Centre, Moscow, 2001)
  • Aeschylus,  Seven against Thebes (Dusseldorf Drama Theatre, Germany, 2002
  • N. Gogol, The Inspector General (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, together with Meyerhold Centre, Saint Petersburg, 2002 – The Russian Federation State Prize, Russia’s Highest National Theatre Golden Mask Prize in the Best Performance category, Saint Petersburg Highest Theatre Prize Golden Soffit in the Best Performance and the Best Actor categories – Sergei Parshin as the Governor, 2003
  • F. Kafka, the Metamorphose (Shisuoka Theatre Centre, Japan, 2003)
  • N. Gogol, The Overcoat (the Sovremennik Theatre. Another stage, Moscow, 2004   Russia’s Highest National Theatre Golden Mask Prize in the Best Short Performance and Best Scenic Design categories (Alexander Borovsky, 2006
  • F. Dostoevsky, The Double (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg,2005)
  • N. Gogol, The Martiage (Arko Art centre, Seoul, South Korea, 2005)
  • L. Tolstoy, The Live Corpse (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, 2005)
  • P. Chaikovsky, The Queen of Spades (The Bolshoy Theatre. The New Stage, 2007)
  • N. Gogol, The Marriage (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, 2008) Leonid Popov media prize at the 18th international Baltiysky Dom festival, Russian National Golden Mask Theatre Prize in Best director’s Work and Best Scenic Design categories, 2009
  • V. Levanov, Xenia. The Story of Love (The Alexandrinsky Theatre,  2009)
  • W. Shakespeare, Hamlet (The Alexandrinsky Theatre,  2010)
  • Konstantin Raikin, Evening with Dostoevsky (a play based on Notes from Underground) (The A. Raikin Satiricon Theatre, Moscow, 2010
  • Your Gogol, (based on N. Gogol’s texts) (The Alexandrinsky Theatre Small Stage, 2011)
  • Zero Liturgy (based on F. Dostoevsky’s novel The Gambler) (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, 2012)
  • The Nevsky Prospekt. Sketches of the City (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, 2013)
  • V. Levanov, Xenia. The Story of Love (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, specific versions for Russian historic and cultural conservation zones, first shown on the Vologodsky Kremlin stage during the Voices of History International Theatre festival, 2014)
  • Masquerade. Remembrance of the Future based on M. Lermontov’s drama Masquerade and the 1917 Meyerhold performance by the same name (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, 2014)
  • The Third Option based on L. Tolstoy’s play The Live Corpse, second rendition (The Alexandrinsky Theatre, 2015)
  • The Roads: Director’s Correction The Premiere took place on The Alexandrinsky Theatre New Stage, on March 22, 2015, as part of the programme of the Opening Ceremony of the Year of Literature in Saint Petersburg.
  • Today. 2016 by Kirill Fokin’s novel Fire (The New Alexandrinsky theatre Stage, 2016)
  • The Troyan Women, Euripides’ tragedy (together with director N. Roschin, premiered on the antique Amphitheatre of the Pausilypon Archeological park as part of  (Napoli Teatro Festival Italia on June 2, 2016)
  • The Crocodile based on the story by F. Dostoevsky. The Nemzeti Színház Hungarian National Theatre, Budapest. The show premiered on October 7, 2016.

Television Performances

  • Ch. Dickens, Dombey and Son (1974)
  • N. Gogol, Ivan Fyodorovich Shpon’ka and his Auntie (1976)
  • V. Tokareva, Between the Sky and Earth (based on the story Greka Crossing a River (1976)
  • O. de Balzac, Cousin Ponce (1979)
  • V. Tokareva, Demand for Mazaev (1979)

Filmed Television Performances

  • K. Simonov, We’ll Never See Each Other Again (1981)
  • M. Lermontov, Lady Treasurer of Tambov (1982)
  • Krylov’s Fables (1983)
  • A. Buravsky, Speak Up… (1987)
  • V. Nabokov, Invitation to the Execution (TV-centre, Lodz, Poland, 1992)
  • T. Dorst, Me, Feierbach (1993)

Cinema and Television Films

  • L. Zorin, Transit (1983)
  • The Riddles of the Inspector General (1998)
  • F. Kafka, Metamorphose (2002)
  • N. Gogol, Room in NN…. Hotel
    (2003) - TEFI Prize in the Best Television Film/TV series Director, 2004
  • N. Gogol, The Overcoat (2008)

Books

  • The Scores of Two Performances Room in NN…. Hotel, Metamorphose, Meyerhold Art Centre, edited by V. Semenovsky. Recorded by A. Bakshi, Moscow, 1999
  • The Alexandrinsky Inspector General by Valery Fokin. The Birth of the Performance. Comprised by A.A. Chepurov. Saint Petersburg Baltic Seasons, published by E.S. Alexeeva. 2005 – 496 pages, colour illustrations (The Alexandrinsky Theatre Library)
  • Valery Fokin. Conversations about the Profession of a Director. Comprised and recorded by A. Chepurova. Saint Petersburg: Baltic Seasons, published by E.S. Alexeeva, 2006 – 288 pages, colour illustrations(The Alexandrinsky Theatre Library)
  • Valery Fokin. Conversations about the National Theatre, Saint Petersburg Baltic Seasons, 2016 Awards and Prizes.

Interviews

  • Govorit Moskva radio interview with Valery Fokin, February 2, 2013
  • INTERVIEW: Editor Theodora Clarke speaks to Valery Fokin, artistic director of St Petersburg’s Alexandrinsky Theatre // Russian art + Culture. 03.07.2014
  • Don’t Make Abrupt Gestures (Valery Fokin for Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti newspaper, July 17, 2014
  • Valery Fokin : The state should also finance that kind of art that does not attract thousands of spectators. (interviewed by Zhanna Zaretskaya Fontanka.ru, July 23, 2014
  • Today’s the triumph of the digital middle age (interviewed by Anna Frantsuzova) Nevskoe Vremya, November 25, 2014
  • Valery Fokin New calls. New choice Sahkt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti, February 2, 2015
  • Children do not Fear Viy, Valery Fokin on the opening Ceremony of the Year of Literarure in the Alexandrinsky Theatre (interviewed by Irina Korneeva.) Rossiyskaya Gazeta # 60 (6631), March 23, 2015.
  • Valery Fokin, The Unique Character of the Alexandrinsky Theatre New Stage. Vesti.ru, April 8, 2015
  • Ministry of Culture or Censorship Ministry? (interviewed by Elena Bobrova)  Gorod 812. # 13. April 13, 2015
  • The Remembrance of the Future. Valery Fokin (interviewed by Nikita Kondrushenko) Dress Code # 1 (54) 2015
  • Valery Fokin, Patriotism is a very Subtle Emotion Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti, May 7, 2015
  • Minus Three Sisters, Valery Fokin on the Changes in the Theatre Entertainment Market (interviewed by Irina Korneeva) Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 31, 2015
  • Valery Fokin, About One-Way Minds in General Sahkt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti, August 31, 2015
  • Valery Fokin, You can’t divide art based on your own approval, Nevskoe Vremya, September 30, 2015
  • Valery Fokin, I Breathe Freely Here (interviewed by Alexandre Platunov) Teatralny Gorod. October 2015.
  • Valery Fokin. What if I Were in the Middle? (interviewed by Alla Shenderova) Novoe Vremya. October 2015, # 35-36
  • The Alexandrinsky Theatre Artisitic Director Valery Fokin: The union of tradition and innovation is the sign of theatre evolution, INTERFAX, November 11, 201
  • Valery Fokin The Theatre is Always under Stress Mir TV Channel, December 16, 2015
  • Valery Fokin Is Consistent Art Policy Possible Without Censorship? (interviewed by Tatiana Troyanskaya (Ekho Moskvy January 12, 2016
  • Valery Fokin  (interviewed by Alexei Gorpinchenko, Ekho Moskvy Radio, (January 13, 2016)
  • Border Guards of Freedom. Valery Fokin: Outside Censorship is Out of the question. Do we need inner censors? (Valery Fokin at the Business Breakfast in Rossiyskaya Gazeta) The Rossiyskaya Gazeta web site, February 1, 2016
  • The Theatre Preserves the Freedom Solution, Valery Fokin about tradition and innovation (interviewed by Andrei Arkhangelsky), Kommersant.RU. Ogonyok, February 8, 2016
  • Valery Fokin, Keeping Up the Traditions (interviewed by Olga Privalova) Russkaya Mysl’. February 2016
  • Valery Fokin in the Leading Role show on Kultura TV Channel Broadcast of February 15, 20
  • Aliens in the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Valery Fokin and Son as Main Targets (interviewed by Irina Korneeva) Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 24, 2016
  • Valery Fokin, especially for Good Morning breakfast TV show. Pervy Channel, February 25, 2016
  • The Fokin Method (interviewed by Vyacheslav Surikov) Expert # 10, March 17-13, 2016
  • Valery Fokin: The Two Processes are Criminally Alike (interviewed by Dmitry Tselikin) Delovoi Peterburg, March 25, 2016
  • Valery Fokin in the Art Council show on Kulture TV channel, March 31, 2016
  • Nothing is more important than talking about how to build a man, Valery Fokin interview, Sankt-Peterburg TV Channel, Pulse of the City TV show, April 3, 2016
  • Valery Fokin: my main Goal was to restore the Alexandrinsky Theatre status. (interviewed by Elena Fedorenko) Kultura, April 12, 2016
  • Valery Fokin: Better a bad small town theatre than no small town theatre (interviewed by Evgeny Avramenko), Izvestia, June 23, 2016    
  • Of the Blue Bird, White gloves and the Inner and Outer Man ( Valery Fokin interviewed by Marina Dmitrevskaya), Peterburgsky teatralny Zhurnal, # 84, 2016