Attended Kharkov Art Institute between 1977-1978. Graduated in 1983 from the Leningrad State Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinema, where his year was taught by A. Katsman and L. Dodin. Invited that same year to join the Company of the Academic Maly Drama Theatre of Europe, where he instantly became the leading actor.
Joined the Alexandrinsky Theatre Company in February 2015.
In the Academic Maly Drama Theatre, he became famous for his legendary role of Mikhail Pryaslin in the “Brothers and Sisters” performance (Semak performed this role for 30 consecutive years). His next role was a challenge to his acting skill – the exquisite nobleman Stavrogin in the other legendary play “Demons” (director L. Dodin). Semak’s repertoire in the Maly Drama Theatre comprised many unlike characters – an expressive jealous man Leont (“Winter Tale”), hopeless adventure seeker Doctor Rice (“Molly Sweeny”), a suave doctor Astrov (“Uncle Vanya”), desperate but proud father Kind Lear (“King Lear”), arrogant and narcissistic son Jamie Tyron (“Long Day's Journey Into Night”) and many others.
His debut as Evgeny Arbenin at the Alexandrinsky Theatre’s stage placed Pyotr Semak as an important semantic figure in the director Valery Fokin’s “Masquerade. Remembrance of the Future” (2014) through combination of the deep essence of the role and its intricate form. In 2015 for this work Pyotr Semak was nominated for the Golden Mask, Top Russian National Theater Prize, in the category “Best Actor”.
The current repertoire of Pyotr Semak in the Alexandrinsky Theatre also includes the role of Fyodor Protasov in Valery Fokin’s “The Third Option” (2015, second version of “The Live Corpse” performance).
In 2015 he took part in the stage performance at the official opening of the Year of Literature in St. Petersburg (Ivan’s monologue, Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Brothers Karamazov”), which later was included in the performance “The Roads” (”Dorogi”) (director V. Fokin) at the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre. In February 2016 he played the part of Vladimir Ognev in the performance “Today. 2016” at the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre after the fiction novel “The Fire” by Kirill Fokin (director V. Fokin). In director Mikhail Patlasov’s “Chuk and Gek” (2017) he plays the part of Arkady Petrovich Gaidar. In Valery Fokin’s “Schweik. The Comeback” he plays the role of the General.
Apart from his work in the theatre, Pyotr Semak records audiobooks, participates in literature meetings of contemporary novelists.
Takes part in the social documentary theater project “UnTOUCHABLE” (NePRIKASAEMYE) (director M. Patlasov) describing lives of people in a difficult situation. The project is located in multiple venues of the city.
He played several dozens of roles in the cinema: “Red Sky, Black Snow” (“Krasnoe nebo, cherny sneg”) (director V. Ogorodnikov), “Putina” (director V. Ogorodnikov), “Coal man” (“Kochegar”) (director A. Balabanov), “Female prisoner story” (“Istoriya zechki”) (director V. Buturlin), “The Dark World: Equilibrium” (“Temny Mir: Ravnovesie”) (director O. Asadulin) etc. An acknowledged master of scenic word, he participates in dubbing of foreign films – he provided a voice to Nicolas Cage, Brad Pitt etc.
In 1986 he was awarded with the State Prize of the USSR for the role of Mikhail Pryaslin in his performance “Brothers and Sisters”.
In 1998 he was awarded with the “Golden Floodlight” award.
In 2000 he was awarded with the State Prize of Russia for the role of Septimus in “Arkadia” performance at the Tovstonogov Bolshoy Drama Theatre.
In 2006 he was given an honorary title of the People’s Artist of Russia.
In 2007 he was awarded with a special prize of the Judges of the Golden Mask for “powerful and complete dedication” (the role of King Lear in the eponymous performance of the Maly Drama Theatre).
In 2008 he was awarded with K.S. Stanislavsky prize in two categories: “Acting Skill” and “Contribution in the development of the Russian Theatre”.
On 30 August 2016 he was awarded with the annual prize of Sberbank of Russia which marks the outcome of the season.
In 2017 he earned the Russian Government Prize for Culture for 2016 “For creation of the performance “Masquerade. Remembrance of the Future" after M.Yu. Lermontov’s play "Masquerade" and performance directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold in 1917. The Decree No. 209-r of 7 February 2017 was signed by Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev.
In 2018 he was awarded with the “Figaro” prize in the category "Best of the Best" (for performance of roles at the Russian Theatre stage).
Everything that is implied in the plays, novels, books of the great writers, their insight into human nature and “what is a man”, his purpose in this life, the thing he lives for, the direction in which he moves, and what has to be done to make the man better than he is, – all these eternal questions are probably the subject of research of any actor, if he or she really strives to be the modern, serious actor and not merely entertains the public.
Baltiiskie Sezony, January 2012.
Roles at the Alexandrinsky Theatre:
- General (“Schweik. The Comeback”, director Valery Fokin, 2018)
- A.P. Gaidar (“Chuk and Gek”, director Mikhail Patlasov, 2017)
- Vladimir Ognev in Today. 2016 by Valery Fokin, 2016
- Ivan Karamazov’s monologue, Fyodor Dostoevsky, in The Brothers Karamazov (The Roads) by Valery Fokin, 2015
- Fyodor Vasilyevich Protasov in The Third Option (the second edition of The Living Corpse) by Valery Fokin, 2015
- Evgeny Arbenin in Masquerade. Remebrance of the Future by Valery Fokin, 2014