March 23, 24, 29 Friday, 3 p.m.
Academic Discourses
The School of Contemporary Spectators and Listeners, in tandem with the Theatre Institute
2 часа
The School of Contemporary Spectators and Listeners, in tandem with the Theatre Institute, presents:

Academic Discourses
A cycle of professional dialogues about theatre. A program of the Theatre Institute and the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre.


March 23, Thursday, 3 p.m.

Misha Kachman. The Career of a Young Artist. The Experience of America.
A lecture

How does one become a set designer in the U.S.? How is American theatre education structured in general, and what, in particular, is the path that a young artist takes into the profession?
The difference between the way artists are taught in Russia (and in the Old World in general) or in the United States is markedly different and it reflects the enormous differences between the theatre world of Russia and the American theatre industry. Historically, in Russia the emphasis is on formal training, ranging from purely artistic disciplines (academic painting and drawing) to cycles of classes on general culture (history of art, literature, theatre and so on). Most people who come to study set design in Russia previously studied easel painting and have read precious few plays. In the U.S. the majority of students are theatre people to start with. Emphasis is placed on mastering craft, technology, visual language, and professional standards, as well as social skills and etiquette that will help the young artist acquire professional relationships. Of course, a very important issue is that it is an institution of assistantship. The vast majority of today’s successful artists were essentially, in the early stages of their careers, apprentices in the workshops their teachers or of star set designers. Structurally, theatre design education in America belongs not to schools of art but rather to drama schools.
We will talk about the history, hierarchy, finance and geography of professional programs, the URTA and NAST selection system, Ming's Clambake and other such similar institutions. We will discuss how theatre programs participate in the marketing of their graduates, how schools and dynasties come into being, as well as the role that "star" professors play in the future career of young artists. I will also touch on how relations arise and grown among young artists, directors, producers, and peers.

Misha Kachman is an American theatre designer. He was born in Leningrad, graduated from the Production Department of LGITMik in the workshop of Mikhail Smirnov. He studied with two of the great cinematographers – Bella Manevich and Isaak Kaplan. From 1994 to 1998 he worked as an exhibit designer in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.. Misha has designed numerous productions for Arena Stage, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Maryland Opera Studio, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Olney Theatre, Opera Lafayette, Opera Royal Versailles, Pasadena Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Round House Theatre, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Signature Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Studio Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Theatre J, Wilma Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and many more.
As a designer he has been a permanent member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., since 2011. He is a winner of the Helen Hayes award. He is a professor of stage design at Maryland University, where he has been the Head of the MFA program in Design since 2014.

March 24, Friday, 3 p.m.

Children in Theatre. What We Do with Them and What They Do with Us.

Theatre for children has become an essential part of any theatre’s repertoire policy decisions - and not only in the traditional period of New Year parties, and not only in special "children's" theatres. The institution of the old Soviet Theatres for Young Spectators have long ceased to be a place exclusively for young audiences; meanwhile, so-called major theatres fill their schedules with children’s performances. Independent projects for children develop more quickly and easily than other independent projects.
All this happens in a situation where childhood and children have ceased to be merely a family affair, and have became the subject of public policy - not only in regards to state support for certain projects, but also in the form of morality control.
Today’s roundtable participants rigorously and uncompromisingly discuss the key issues of working with children and children's theatre. The range of topics includes:

  • Theatre of a special kind: a theatre of childlike joy vs. a theatre of childlike sorrow. Is there a third kind?
  • Popular works as a guarantee of a stable repertoire. The absence of new texts – is this a problem of demand or supply?
  • Are Theatres of Young Spectators (TYuZ) younger siblings of dramatic theatre? The question of a theatre’s prestige and children’s shows.
  • Should theatre educate children?
  • The setting of age limits – whose responsibility is it? The state, parents, teachers, the makers of the shows?
  • What does theatre know about its spectators, and what does the spectator know about his/her theatre? How do you achieve mutual respect?
  • Are children the “most demanding spectators” or are they pushovers for whatever they’re offered?



March 29, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
Action as Music. How to Make Music Today

Participants: Heiner Goebbels, Alexander Manotskov, Vladimir Gorlinsky.

The lines separating a musical work from performance and a dramatic production are growing increasingly thin. Musical texts are less and less attached to classical instrumentation, classical notation and traditional forms of concert performance. A musical work is now fixed by descriptions of action undertaken by performers, and increasingly resembles a play.

  • Why is notation not sufficient? What tasks do alternative forms of musical notation solve?
  • Is it still music?
  • Why should a composer lose control of a work?
  • How do you value the adequacy (quality) of the performance of such a work? Is that a question worth asking?
  • Does a performer need special musical talents? If so, what?
  • What do you do if some action in a score cannot be performed?

Free admission by way of advance registration on