@ The Moscow Art Theatre American Studio &
Vakhtangov Theatre’s Shchukin Institute
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The program, established in 1946, aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.
I received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2005 to research theatre pedagogy in Moscow, Russia. I had a particular interest in exploring the experience of American students who traveled to Moscow to study theatre and improving the quality of educational exchange between Russians and Americans. To pursue these interests, I started work at the Moscow Art Theatre School (MXT) and the Shukin Institute of the Vakhtangov Theatre, under the guidance of Master Teacher Andrei Droznin.
In the course of my fellowship year I audited classes in acting, directing, dance, movement, and theatre history taught by Russian instructors for American graduate and undergraduate students as well as attending classes with Russian graduate and undergraduate students of MXT and Shukin, and compared those with the American classes I audited. By examining the differences in learning styles by students of different nationalities, I was able to create guidelines to help American students get more out of the Russian education system.
I consulted with Moscow Art Theatre School Dean Anatoly Smelianski to help the school address the challenges faced by visiting American students, and I implemented ideas to help visiting students adjust to the system of Russian theatre education:
- A session on pedagogy is now included in orientation
- Students meet one-on-one with their master teacher at regular intervals
- Russian-speaking Americans serve as resident advisors in the dormitory
- Students have the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience
My Fulbright year allowed me to expand my understanding of Russian theatre, and to understand the peculiarities of the American theatre system.
To view a video featuring a montage from "An Evening of Plasticity" at the Shukin School, courtesy of the Vakhtangov Theatre, Click Here. You must have Windows Media Player or a .wmv capatible player available for play.