As Shakespeare said, all the world’s a stage, and it seems that this maxim applies even to Siberia. Indeed, Irkutsk is quite well serviced as far as theater goes: with the musical theater, A.V. Vampilov Theater, puppet theater, and youth theater, there is a range of options for even a discerning theatergoer. However, for a foreigner in Irkutsk, ways to take part in theater are somewhat more limited, and for this reason the student’s theater group at IGLU is particularly unique.
While IGLU does not have a formal theater program and offers no degrees in the performing arts, the IGLU theater group is a student organization which puts on several productions a year and has a repertoire of plays from a wide variety of international playwrights. The group generally meets once a week, with additional rehearsals for individuals who are preparing for one of the groups upcoming productions. The group is managed by a coordinator, Olga Vladimirovna, who also has extensive connections with the other, professional theaters of Irkutsk, for those who are interested. The group is generally quite receptive to foreigners and any students wishing to take part are quite welcome, no prior theatrical experience is required. However, as all of the rehearsals and performances are conducted in Russian, one needs to have a reasonably advanced knowledge of Russian language and enough confidence to speak it in front of large audiences in order to be a functional member of the group.
The production of the theater group which I recently went to see, “Весь мир – Театр,” was in fact a collection of short excerpts from different plays written by famous playwrights from around the world in the various European languages offered at IGLU. The acting was quite good for a student group, and the Aktovyi Zal at IGLU is actually quite a nice space for performances, markedly nicer than anything else at IGLU. While the various excerpts did vary widely in quality, overall it was clear that the theater group has quite a large number of members who are clearly very committed to theater, and some individuals who are quite talented.
For people who are interested in joining the theater group, meetings are presently held Thursdays at 6:30 pm in the Aktovyi Zal. If that should change, the International Students Office can probably find out for you where and when meetings take place. Overall, the theater group seems like a great way to meet lots of Russian students as well as an opportunity to take part in theater while abroad.
IGLU Youth Theater Group “Experiment” / ИГЛУ Молодёжный Театр «Эксперимент»
Актовый зал, ИГЛУ
David Garrison Golubock graduated from the University of Chicago in 2011 with degrees in history and Slavic languages and literatures. With a full year of academic study abroad already under his belt, he will be participating in SRAS’s Home and Abroad Program in Irkutsk over the 2012-2013 academic year. He plans to pursue graduate studies in his fields.