The Russian Theatre Festival at Soho Theatre

Sputnik launched the first Russian Theatre Festival in the UK. Four new Russian-language plays were translated into English and premiered at the Soho Theatre.

“Anyone following the developments of Russian drama would do well to follow what [Festival Director] Noah Birksted-Breen is up to. He is on a mission to ensure that Russian drama will once again have its day in British theater.” Moscow Times

The programme of the Festival
The Festival events will take place at the Soho Theatre presenting four British premieres by emerging Russian-language playwrights that have been selected after research trips by festival director Noah Birksted-Breen to the major Russian festivals: the Golden Mask Festival, the Ekaterinburg International Festival and Kolyada-Plays:

(1 Feb 2010)
Directed by Simon Stokes.
Translated by Noah Birksted-Breen.

Four women have one thing in common: their husbands have “disappeared”. For them to speak out is dangerous – to stay silent is impossible.
Dreams is a drama based on true stories about “the disappeared” in Belarus. KOLYADA is co-founder of Free Theatre, an underground theatre company whose Patrons are Vaclav Havel and Sir Tom Stoppard.

Tityus The Irreproachable by MAKSIM KUROCHKIN (2 Feb 2010)
Directed and translated by Noah Birksted-Breen.
“ADMINISTRATOR-KILLER: Yes, I agree that the terrorists don’t control us yet. But that’s because we prepared for those dangers…”
Tityus is a political satire, by one of Russia’s iconic playwrights, about a future with individualised flying CCTV cameras. Tityus won the Moscow New Drama Award 2008.

Mums by VLADIMIR ZUEV (3 Feb 2010)
Directed and translated by Noah Birksted-Breen.
A group of women have travelled into the middle of a war to bring home their sons. These are no ordinary mums…
Mums is a moving portrait of the mums who ZUEV met when he travelled to Chechnya – it is based on real stories. ZUEV won the Eurasia Award 2007 for Mums.

Natasha’s Dreams by YAROSLAVA PULINOVICH (4 Feb 2010)
Directed and translated by Noah Birksted-Breen.
“NATASHA: I never thought that jumping from a second floor window makes a wish come true. Really, it does! Anyone who doesn’t believe me, should try it.”
Natasha’s Dreams is a comic monologue about young people in Russia today. PULINOVICH’s Beyond The Track was presented at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Russian Season in September 2009.

Also at the Festival:

Free post-show discussions by specialist speakers following each performance.

Literature stall promoting and selling contemporary Russian literature in translation published by the Glas Publishing House. Glas has published translations of more than thirty contemporary Russian novels and fifteen anthologies of short stories and poetry including works by Ludmila Ulitskaya, Boris Slutsky and Alexander Pokrovsky.

Outreach performances for young people at youth community centres.

All plays were translated and directed as rehearsed readings by Noah Birksted-Breen.

  • About Us

    Sputnik is a British theatre company dedicated to sourcing, translating and producing new Russian drama for British audiences.

    There are several strands to Sputnik's work including:
    - producing new Russian plays in the UK
    - programming and organising the Russian Theatre Festival in London
    - developing Russian playwriting through commissions and exchanges
    - outreach work bringing drama to disadvantaged young people
    - cultural events with Russian literature and music

    Why Russia?
    Russia has a history of theatrical innovation. Russian playwrights have played a significant role in shaping modern European theatre.

    Contemporary playwriting in Russia has been going through an important and innovative period since 1991 with a prolific output by predominantly young dramatists.

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