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Nikolai Demidov's School of Acting - Pedagogy of the Future

A research seminar with Andrei Malaev-Babel

A Department of Drama research event
Date24 May 2016
PlaceAlexander Building TS1

Nikolai Demidov’s School of Acting is Russian Theatre’s best-kept secret. Until the first decade of the 21st century, the name of Nikolai Demidov (1884-1953) was known only to a narrow circle of specialists. Several “high-ranking” Stanislavski disciples prevented Demidov’s practices from surfacing for half a century following the master’s death. In Russia today, the Demidov heritage is slowly making its way into the curriculum at some of the country’s top acting conservatories. One of Russia’s foremost contemporary teachers of acting, Professor Veniamin Filshtinsky of the St. Petersburg Theatre Academy, refers to Demidov’s methods as “pedagogy of the future”. Demidov was one of three original teachers of the Stanislavski System (Sulerzhitsky-Vakhtangov-Demidov), the first editor of An Actor’s Work and the founding director of the Moscow Art Theatre School. Stanislavski’s close collaborator for 30 years, Demidov went on to disagree with Stanislavski over the use of analysis. Demidov’s School approaches an actor’s process as an indivisible flow of subconscious creativity – from the first steps of training. Moreover, Demidov pioneered non-analytical, organic techniques that enable actors to access and facilitate their intuitive process, as well as the character. The Demidov approach unveiled the secrets of the tragedians, such as Mochalov, Duse and Yermolova. It has proven successful in accessing the higher emotional spheres. To mark the forthcoming publication of his book, Nikolai Demidov: Becoming an Actor-Creator (Routledge, June 2016), Professor Malaev-Babel’s talk will concentrate on the history of Demidov’s methods, on his relationship with Stanislavski and the System, and on the contemporary experience of working with the Demidov technique at a top North American acting conservatory. About Andrei Malaev-Babel Trained as a director at Vakhtangov Theater Institute, Moscow, Russia, Andrei Malaev-Babel is the Head of Acting and an Associate Professor of Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota, Florida. He is a member of the international faculty and board of MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association in New York City and on the advisory board of Rose Bruford’s Stanislavski Centre. Since 1997, he has served as the Producing Artistic Director for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio (STS), an award-winning company and conservatory in Washington, DC. He was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award as an Outstanding Director for his production of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. He is the author of The Vakhtangov Sourcebook (Routledge, 2011) and Evgeny Vakhtangov: A Critical Portrait (Routledge, 2012) as well as the forthcoming Nikolai Demidov: Becoming an Actor-Creator (Routledge, June 2016).

ProviderDepartment of Drama

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