Moscow Art Theatre School USA

Stanislavsky Summer School • History

MXAT - Moscow Art Theatre

MXAT in Russian stands for the MOSCOW ART THEATRE. It started as Moscow Art Accessible Theatre at the end of the 19th century. In 1897 Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko met at the Slavyanski Bazaar Restaurant in Moscow. After that legendary 18 hour-long meeting the theatre that had no analogy worldwide was founded. That was the theatre of artistic idea and acting ensemble, the theatre that was bound to become the cornerstone of art history of the 20th century.

The theatre was an instant success with its inaugural production of Tolstoy’s Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich. The first play that Chekhov brought to the theatre was The Seagull which has become the theatrical standard bearer ever since. It has also become company’s signature and its emblem. All other plays Chekhov wrote for the Moscow Art theatre and they were premiered here.

The major page in the MXAT history was its unprecedented two year-long tour of Europe and America. That tour made MXAT a world legend. It was then that the Stanislavsky System known as the Method in the West was acknowledged as the major achievement in the theatre history.This system is reflected in his major books My Life in Art and An Actor Prepares. These books are still regarded among the actors and directors worldwide as the Bible and ABC of acting.

In 1970 Oleg Yefremov, a recognized leader of his theatre generation, was called by his former MXAT teachers to become the Artistic Director of the theatre in hope to revitalize the national treasure of Russian Art. Mr. Efremov was at the helm of the Moscow Art Theatre for almost 30 years and directed more than 40 productions. After the death of Oleg Yefremov, Oleg Tabakov, disciple of the great MXAT actors, took over the artistic directorship in June 2000 to mantain and develop the traditions of the Moscow Art Theatre.

The actual theatre, located in Central Moscow, near the Kremlin, was named the Chehkov Moscow Art theatre in 1992. The Moscow Art Theatre today is the company of 70 actors with the rotating repertory of nearly 30 productions that are presented every night at the three stages. MXAT maintains close ties with its training program – world-renowned Moscow Art Theatre School, regarded as the leading theatre school in Russia with most reputable programs and wide range of international connections, – and with the Moscow Art Theatre Museum that preserves and develops a unique and most valuable theatre collection. The theatre actively takes part in festivals and other events internationally.
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Moscow Art Theatre (MXAT) School

THE MXAT SCHOOL was founded in 1943 by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, a legendary Russian director and teacher and co-founder with Konstantin Stanislavsky of the MXAT. The theatre, founded in 1898, and its studios became the training grounds for exploration and development of the famed teaching, ethical, and production principles that later led to the creation of the celebrated “Stanislavsky System.” Senior members of the MXAT company have always taught at the School. Today, most members of the MXAT company are graduates of the MXAT School.

The MXAT School today is considered the leading theatre training program in Russia. Every summer the MXAT School auditions several thousand applicants, of which only 30-40 students are admitted into the freshman class. The School is a fully accredited Russian academic institution with a conservatory-type curriculum offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in acting; directing; playwriting; set, costume, and lighting design; technical directing; and production and theatre management.

Close ties with the MXAT offer students an opportunity to integrate with the fabled company at the primary stages of their professional development. Students present their productions in rotating repertory throughout the season at the School Studio Theatre located next to the MXAT Main Stage. An average season includes 6-10 productions by junior, senior, and graduate acting classes. Many students are invited to join the MXAT company upon graduation. Most of the School’s graduates are working as company members with one of the more than two hundred Moscow theatres and experimental theatre groups.
The MXAT School is a recognized cross-cultural center and home of numerous international theatre exchanges. It has hosted guest artists from all over the world, including directors and teachers from Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the United States. Russian students have toured their productions and participated in workshops and seminars in Berlin, Budapest, Hamburg, London, New York, Paris, and Strasbourg. From 1994 to 1998, students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) School of Drama studied in Moscow and in Pittsburgh as a part of the joint CMU/MXAT Graduate Acting Program.
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MXAT programs in America

In 1992 the MXAT School established its presence in the United States by founding the Stanislavsky Summer School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an intensive summer training program run in association with the American Repertory Theatre. In 1998, the centennial year of the MXAT, the continued friendship and collaboration between the MXAT School and the A.R.T. brought to life a unique international affiliation – the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard, a joint venture of the MXAT School and the A.R.T. 

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