Interim Chair of the Directing department,
Docent ANDREY LEVITSKIY
The Directing Department was founded by Boris Zahava in 1959. That period of time in our country - later it was called "thaw" - gave birth to a new wave in literature that burst into the Soviet theatre that was suffocating in a very calm and relaxed atmosphere of no conflict.
There appeared an acute necessity in young directors who would be able to put the literature of "thaw" on stage and think over the Russian and world classical literature and theatre heritage in a new way.
At that point there were a lot of amateur and folk theatres in our country. The best amateur theatres (especially in big cities) successfully competed with professional theatres. It was obvious that these amateur theatres required professional help, their Heads needed to be provided with knowledge of the Russian theatre culture. Our Directing Department was founded exactly at that moment.
Graduates got different type of assessment as a result of their studies. The best students had the qualification "Theatre Director" and all the others graduated as "Directors of Amateur Theatre Collective". With time a lot of graduates didn't only begin working in professional theatres but became heads of them.
Gradually these two phrases were taken out of the diplomas and now in The Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute there is only one specialty for all the graduates of the Directing Department: "Director of Drama". And no wonder. It's enough just to have a look at the list of leading directors of Russian and former Soviet Republics in order to imagine the scale of the work of the Directing Department.
The main principle of education in our school is a complex and deep approach to mastering all the sides of a director's work. This principle is based on the method of teaching which is being constantly revised and renewed. The method roots in the practical activity of Evgeny Vakhtangov who enriched the ideas of Konstantin Stanislavsky with "fantastic realism". The practical method was transformed into a system of theoretical thesis and practical skills by Boris zahava, Ruben Simonov, Evgeny Simonov, Maria Ter-Zaharova, Alexander Polamishev, Vladimir Eufer, Liudmila Stavskaya and other teachers of the Directing Department of the Shchukin school.
At the present moment - apart from the correspondence course for those who already work in a professional theatre or leads a theatre school or studio but doesn't have a diploma of a theatre director - we have a full-time program. Except for the basic disciplines of the Acting Department this program includes disciplines on theory and practice of directing, the fundamentals of play analysis, stage design, economics of theatre and music in a theatre performance.
The students finish their studies with a show that can be produced in any theatre in Russia and abroad.
Full-time groups of student directors are enrolled once in five years. They study together with the students of the Acting Department. They master the entire four-years program having a chance to work with actors, make experiments and try different approaches. A lot of graduates of these groups are great directors who work in such theatres as The Alexandrinsky Theatre in Saint-Petersburg, The Vakhtangov Theatre, The Satire Theater, The Moscow Art Theatre etc.