In Conversation in Apocalyptic Times

Butusov, Yury and Shevtsova, Maria. 2023. In Conversation in Apocalyptic Times. New Theatre Quarterly, 39(4), pp. 283-306. ISSN 0266-464X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Undoubtedly one of the most prominent and most important Russian directors of the past two decades, Yury Butusov here refers to several landmarks of his artistic trajectory, gradually revealing a sense of oeuvre, of a body of work connected by a distinctive worldview. Not all of his productions of exceptional significance are cited here, and Flight (2015), at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow, not having found its rightful place here, appears separately at the end. This Conversation, while intentionally taking a wide perspective, nevertheless focuses on production details so as to foreground various artistic qualities that distinguish his approach. Butusov discusses at some length what constitutes his directorial method and methodology, stressing, above all, the primacy of creative freedom for his actors and himself from which emerge complex and highly charged theatre constructions. Butusov, who is against war as such, speaks of his position on the Russian-Ukrainian war, which led to his resignation in 2018 from the artistic directorship of the Lensoviet Theatre in St Petersburg. He became Principal Director of the Vakhtangov, alongside the acclaimed Rimas Tuminas, Artistic Director of this theatre. Tuminas resigned from his post in spring 2022. Butusov and his family left Russia for Paris, and Butusov resigned from the Vakhtangov in November 2022. His production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is to be premiered at the Russian- and Lithuanian-speaking Vilnius Old Theatre in September 2023. This conversation took place on 23 March and 27 April 2023 on Zoom, and was translated from the Russian and edited by Maria Shevtsova.

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This article has been published in a revised form in New Theatre Quarterly []. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © Cambridge University Press, 2023.


methodology, research in the raw, music, rhythm, variations, freedom, war

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


June 2023Accepted
8 November 2023Published Online
November 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Dec 2023 14:44

Last Modified:

13 Dec 2023 15:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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