Rimas Tuminas – Artistic Director (from 2007 up to the present day)

At the beginning of the season 2007-2008 Rimas Tuminas took the helm of The Evgeny Vakhtangov Theatre. Mikhail Ulyanov invited him to the position of the Artistic Director. Ulyanov felt that Tuminas was a kindred spirit, a talented and extraordinary person, capable of taking the reins of the theatre.

The new leader did not immediately start rehearsing. He looked through the repertoire and as the majority of actors were not involved in any performances he suggested them to choose the directing and the drama by themselves for a non-scheduled work. This idea had been received with enthusiasm. Six months later several works were shown, and though none of them were included in the repertoire, Tuminas uncovered the potential of the actors and discussed all pros and cons with them. This measure turned out to be very useful later on.

Rimas Tuminas wanted to get to know the troupe better. He invited director and ballet master Angelica Kholina to stage the performance “Women’s Shore”. It was an experiment, as for the first time the music, not the drama, lied at the heart of the performance. Marlene Dietrich’s songs served as a plot. The meaning was expressed in terms of plastic, gesture, dance and energy – but not in terms of the word. Actors of different generations acquired unusual directing method, which gave full scope to their artistic potential.

In October 2008 the performance “White Acacia” was shown on the main stage. It was a graduation work of The Boris Shukin Institute course, directed by Vladimir Ivanov (he was the master of the course). Sixteen actors, involved in the play, joined the troupe. The performance stayed in the repertoire for two seasons.

Rimas Tuminas chose one of the most complex Shakespeare’s plays “Troilus and Cressida’ to be his debut work. The idea was to create the play, the main advantage of which was that the actors would form a single whole.  Director managed to bring together actors of different ages. The play was a significant achievement. 

Rimas Tuminas cares about the upbringing of well-educated actors and their acculturation. Therefore he invited experts in art, music and literature, who spoke about the ancient history during the work on “Troilus and Cressida”, about the romantic era that is shown in the performance “Masquerade”, and about the theatre of the absurd in “The Wind in the Poplars”.

In recent years the atmosphere of the theatre has changed a lot. The creativity of the troupe has grown. The initiative and critical attitude to oneself and to the profession has emerged. There is no place for self-complacence and indifference.

Prior to the jubilee season Rimas Tuminas suggested the troupe to search for new plays and directors. He motivated the people of the theatre not to be afraid of trying something new and through inevitable mistakes reach success.

In the theatre there are always actresses whose acting career encounters hardships despite their talent. It is hard to find a play about the women of a certain age. Yet Vera Novikova, Olga Chipovskaya, Agnessa Peterson, Irina Kalistratova and young actress Ekaterina Simonova took an interest in the play “The Farewell Tour” by Juliu Edlis. Under the direction of Oleg Forostenko they told a touching, ironic and slightly sad story of middle-aged actresses, whose life is somewhat similar to their own.

Within the context of independent works, one of the most notable is Jean Anouilh’s “Medea”, directed by Mikhail Tsitrinyak with Yuliya Rutberg in the leading role, who strikes the audience with dazzling dramatic depth of her talent.

Fourteen performances had been released in four seasons. Collaboration with the best directors, such as Vladimir Ivanov, Yury Butusov, Vladimir Mirzoev and Adolph Shapiro, was interesting and fruitful.

The prestige of the theatre increased. The troupe successfully tours around Russia and abroad – Yaroslavl, Saratov, Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Saint-Petersburg, Samara, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kiev, Kharkov, Minsk, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Warsaw, Torun, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Madrid, Gdansk, Prague, Plzen and so on. International tours align with participation in prestigious theatre festivals.

 “The Russian Newspaper” described Rimas Tuminas as the “chosen one”. It said that “the blood of the true director is in his veins. He breathes life into the stage, imbues it with will and sense, converts the performance to a separate planet”. Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”, staged by Tuminas in September 2009, became the champion of different awards and prizes.

The 90th anniversary of The Evgeny Vakhtangov Theatre birth is celebrated on the 13th of January. The idea to release “The Haven” came to Rimas Tuminas. It is the performance, which pays tribute to those actors, who devoted their lives to the stage of The Vakhtangov Theatre. They are the ones who stood at the roots of the theatre, the ones, who glorified it.

In this unusual performance, which includes the pieces from different plays and epochs, each actor has a solo. Yuliya Borisova, Lyudmila Maksakova, Vkadimir Etush, Yury Yakovlev, Vasily Lanovoy, Vyacheslav Shalevich, Galina Konovalova, Irina Kupchenko, Evgeny Knyazev and Sergey Makovetsky – all these actors have their personal significant parts in the play. The rest of the troupe is keeping them company.

 “The Haven” is a performance in memory of those who are no longer here. It proclaims love, talent, respect and faith for the future.