Vsevolod Meyerhold

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Meyerhold prepares for his role as Konstantin in the MAT production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, Pushkino, 1898.
Born February 9, 1874(1874-02-09)
Died February 2, 1940(1940-02-02) (aged 65)
Web Wikipedia, Wikipedia-RU
Collections RGALI, Yale Library

Vsevolod Meyerhold (Всеволод Эмильевич Мейерхольд, 1874–1940) was a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatre producer.

The following passage is sourced from Andrey Smirnov, Sound in Z: Experiments in Sound and Electronic Music in Early 20th-century Russia, London, 2013, p 117.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 made Meyerhold one of the most enthusiastic activists of the new Soviet Theatre. He founded his own theatre in 1922, which was known as The Meyerhold Theatre and lasted until 1938. Meyerhold fiercely confronted the principles of theatrical academism, claiming that they were incapable of finding a common language that could reflect the new reality. The actors participating in Meyerhold's productions acted according to the principles of biomechanics, a system of actor training that was later taught in a special school created by Meyerhold. Meyerhold connected psychological and physiological processes and focused on learning gestures and movements as a way of expressing emotion outwardly. He developed a number of body expressions that his actors would use to portray specific emotions and characters.

Meyerhold was strongly opposed to socialist realism, and at the beginning of the 1930s, when Stalin was clamping down on all avant-garde art and experimentation, his works were proclaimed antagonistic and alien to the Soviet people. His theatre was closed down in January 1938. In 1939, Meyerhold was arrested and accused of anti-government political activities. Sentenced to death by firing squad on 1 February 1940, he was executed the next day.


Magnanimous Cuckold[edit]

Tarelkin's Death[edit]


From Meyerhold on Theatre, translated and introduced by Edward Braun, London, 1969; rev. ed., 1998.


  • with V.M. Bebutov (В.М. Бебутов) and I.A. Aksenov (И.А. Аксенов), Amplua aktera [Амплуа актера], Moscow: GVYRM [ГВЫРМ], 1922, 15 pp. (Russian)
  • Staty, pisma, rechi, besedy [Статьи, письма, речи, беседы], 2 vols. (1891-1917 & 1917-1939), ed. A.V. Fevralsky, Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1968, HTML/1, HTML/2. (Russian)
  • Meyerhold on Theatre, trans., ed. & comm. Edward Braun, London: Methuen, 1969, 336 pp; fully rev.ed., 1991, 336 pp; rev.ed., 1998. (English)
  • O Teatro de Meyerhold, ed. & trans. Aldomar Conrado, Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1969, 244 pp. (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Perepiska: 1896-1939 [Переписка: 1896–1939], ed. V.P. Korshunova and M.M. Sitkovetskaya, Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1976, 464 pp. (Russian)
  • "Petition to the President of the People's Commisar of the USSR", trans. Marjorie Hoover, Soviet and Eastern European Performance 9:1 (1989), pp 46-49; repr. in Theater 28:2 (Winter 1998), pp 27-33. Written in January 1940 at Butyrsky Prison. [1] (English)
  • Meyerkhold repetiruet [Мейерхольд репетирует], 2 vols., ed. & comm. M.M. Sitkovetsky, intro. M.M. Sitkovetsky and O.M. Feldman, Moscow: Artist Rezhisser Teatr, 1993, 272 & 431 pp, HTML/1, HTML/2. (Russian)
  • Nasledie. 1. Avtobiograficheskie materialy. Dokumenty 1896-1903, ed. O.M. Feldman, Moscow: OGI, 1998. 744 pp. [2] [3]. Review: Syssoyeva (TDR 2010 EN). (Russian)
  • Meyerkhold: K istorii tvorcheskogo metoda: Publikatsii. Staty [Мейерхольд: К истории творческого метода: Публикации. Статьи], St Petersburg: KultInformPress, 1998, 247 pp. (Russian)
  • Meyerhold, et al., Meyerkhold i drugie [Мейерхольд и другие], ed. O.M. Feldman, Moscow: OGI, 2000. [4] (Russian)
  • Lektsii: 1918–1919, ed. O.M. Feldman, intro. B.I. Zingerman, Moscow: OGI, 2000. 280 pp. [5] [6]. Review: Syssoyeva (TDR 2010 EN). (Russian)
  • Nasledie. 2. Tovarischestvo novoi dramy. Sozdanie Studii na Povarskoi. Leto 1903–vesna 1905, ed. O.M. Feldman, Moscow: The New Publisher, 2006, 664 pp. Review: Syssoyeva (TDR 2010 EN). (Russian)
  • more (Russian)



Ya. Brukson, Teatr Meyerkholda, 1925. Cover by Aleksei Ushin.
  • Ya. Brukson (Я. Бруксон), Teatr Meyerkholda [Театр Мейерхольда], Leningrad: Kniga, 1925. Cover by Aleksei Ushin. (Russian)
  • "Revizor" v teatre imeni Vs. Meyyerkholda: Sbornik statey [«Ревизор» в театре имени Вс. Мейерхольда: Сборник статей], ed. N.A. Tarshis, 1927; repr., St Petersburg, 2002, 151 pp. (Russian)
  • Karel Martínek, Mejerchold, Prague: Orbis 1963. (Czech)
  • Edward Braun, Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre, Methuen Drama, 1979; 2nd ed., rev. & exp., 1995, xi+347 pp. Reviews: Carnicke (MD 1996), Kiebuzinska (TJ 1996), Shannon (GLW 1999). (English)
  • K.L. Rudnitsky (К.Л. Рудницкий), Meyerkhold [Мейерхольд], Moscow, 1981. (Russian)
  • Robert Leach, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Cambridge University Press, 1989, xii+223 pp. Ch. 1, Ch. 3, Ch. 9, [7]. Review: Goodliffe (NZSJ 1991). (English)
  • Alma Law, Mel Gordon, Meyerhold, Eisenstein, and Biomechanics: Revolutionary Acting in Soviet Russia, Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 1996, xi+282 pp. Introduction, Chs. 1&2, Chs. 4&5. Review: Kiebuzinska (TJ 1996). (English)
  • Meyyerkhold v russkoy teatralnoy kritike [Мейерхольд в русской театральной критике], 2 vols. (1898–1918 & 1920–1938), Moscow: Artist, 1997 & 2000, 527 & 566 pp, HTML/1, HTML/2. (Russian)
  • N.M. Tarabukin o Meyerkholde [Н.М. Тарабукин о Мейерхольде], ed. O.M. Feldman and V.A. Scherbakov, Moscow: OGI, 1998, 112 pp. [8] [9] Five previously unpublished texts on Meyerhold's performances of 1928-35. (Russian)
  • Meyerkhold, rezhissura v perspektive veka. Materialy konferentsii. Vypusk pervyy [Мейерхольд, режиссура в перспективе века. Материалы конференции. Выпуск первый], eds. Beatrice Pikon-Vallin (Беатрис Пикон-Валлен) and Vadim Scherbakov (Вадим Щербаков), Moscow: OGI, 2001, 512 pp. Conference proceedings. [10] [11]
  • Jonathan Pitches, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Routledge, 2003. (English)
  • "Pravda nashego bytiya": Iz arkhivov Teatra Vs. Meyerkholda [«Правда нашего бытия»: Из архивов Театра Вс. Мейерхольда], intro., comm. & afterw. O.M. Feldman, ed. N.N. Panfilova and O.M. Feldman, Moscow: Novoe izdatelstvo, 2014, 327 pp. (Russian)
  • Amy Skinner, Meyerhold and the Cubists: Perspectives on Painting and Performance, Bristol: Intellect, 2015, 190 pp. (English)

Book chapters, articles, theses[edit]

See also[edit]