Valery Fokin

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Valery Fokin (2016)

Valery Vladimirovich Fokin (Russian: Валерий Владимирович Фокин) (born February 28, 1946 in Moscow) is a Russian theatrical director and writer. He is the Artistic Director of the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and the President of The Meyerhold Centre in Moscow.[1] Fokin is decorated with four honorary Russian state awards.[2]


Fokin was born in Moscow in 1946.[2] After graduating from the Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute in 1968, where he staged his first performance, Fokin began directing at Moscow's Sovremennik Theatre where he worked for 15 years.[3] During the 1970s and 1980s, Fokin made a name for himself in the Russian theatrical world by directing plays at this theatre and the Yermolova Theatre.[4][5] In 1971, he directed Valentin and Valentina, a play written the same year by Mikhail Roshchin.[6][7][8] In 1973, he directed the plays An Incident with a Paginator and Twenty Minutes with an Angel at Sovremennik.[4] Fokin also worked as a professor at the GITIS from 1975–1979 and at the Higher State Theatre School in Krakow from 1993-1994.

In 1985, Fokin took over the Moscow Theatre.[2] His 1985 play, Speak!, was the first play in Russia to forecast that the Soviet Union would diminish and that Russia would enter a new political period, marked by Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika political and economic reforms, introduced in June 1987.[5][9] In 1989, Fokin was at the centre of an actor's dispute at the Yermolova Theatre, fuelled by negative reviews of his Dostoevsky play, The Idiot.[5] He left the theatre and Russia and put on performances in Poland and Switzerland in 1990.[5]

Fokin is noted for his association with Vsevolod Meyerhold. In 1988, he became the chairman of the Commission on Meyerhold's Creative Legacy and in 1991 founded the Meyerhold Centre in Moscow, which became a state institution in 1999.[3]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky and Valery Fokin (center).

In 1994, Fokin produced the play, A Hotel Room in the Town of N, based on Nikolai Gogol's novel, Dead Souls in Moscow.[5] Then in 1995 he garnered critical acclaim for his theatrical production of Metamorphosis at the Satirikon Theatre.[5] The play was based on Franz Kafka's 1915 novel,[5] which Fokin also made into a feature film in 2002, screening at festivals in Tokyo, Moscow, Vyborg, and Karlovy Vary.[3] In 1996, Fokin produced Three performances in the Manege in Moscow in March 1996 and Transformations in Saint-Petersburg from November–December 1996.[2]

Fokin is also a writer and contributor to the weekly Moscow newspaper, Kultura, which also employs a number of notable cultural figures and writers such as Fokin and Fazil Iskander.[10]


Fokin has directed plays by the likes of Nabokov, Vampilov, Rozov and Albee.[2] He is noted for his use of dramatic metaphor and pathos in his productions. He often draws upon poignant real life historical events or references, reflecting a predominantly artistic view of the world and an often paradoxical truth.[3] Fokin has directed plays in Poland, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Greece, Switzerland, Japan, France and the United States.[3]


Fokin is a laureate and recipient of four Russian State awards.[2] On January 29, 1996 he was decorated with the People's Artist of Russia by Presidential Decree No. 116.[11] On February 28, 2006, Fokin was awarded the Decoration for Service to Saint Petersburg, by Decree No. 172 of the President of the Russian Federation.[3] Also in 2006, he became an honorary member of the Presidium of the Presidential Council for Culture and the Arts of the Russian Federation.[3] In 2008, he was awarded the Russian National Theatre Award and his production, The Marriage, earned the Golden Mask award in “The Best Director’s Work” category.


  1. ^ "Валерий ФОКИН". Retrieved 2016-08-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "About theatre / Artistic director". Alexandrinksy Theatre. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Valery Fokin". American Theatre Wing. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Law, Alma H. (1996). The Major Plays. Volume 6 of Russian Theatre Archive and European University Studies. Series II. Routledge. p. VIII. ISBN 3-7186-5584-5. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Freedman, John (1997). Moscow Performances: The New Russian Theater 1991-1996. Volume 12 of Choreography and Dance Studies. Taylor & Francis. p. XVII. ISBN 90-5702-181-1. 
  6. ^ Skatov, Nikolai (2005). Russian Literature 20th century. Volume 3 of Russian literature of XX century: writers, poets, playwrights (in Russian). Olma Media Group. p. 227. 
  7. ^ Russian Literature Triquarterly, Issue 6 (1973), Ardis, p.666
  8. ^ Комиссаржевский, Виктор Григорьевич (1977). Ныне модерн Совыет плайс. Прогресс Совыет аутхорс либрарий (in Russian). Progress. p. 377. 
  9. ^ "''Gorbachev and Perestroika''. Professor Gerhard Rempel, Department of History, Western New England College, 1996-02-02, accessed 2008-07-12". February 2, 1996. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  10. ^ Газета "Культура" (in Russian). Kultura. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Presidential Decree of 29.01.1996 N 116" (in Russian). Kremlin. January 29, 1996. Retrieved May 27, 2010.