The Russian Arts Theater & Studio (TRATS) is an award-winning, not-for-profit 501 (c) theater company based in New York City. Founded in 2004, TRATS was created with the hopes of sharing the rich traditions of Russian theater arts, literature and history with contemporary audiences in America. Additionally, a studio was created to pass on the unique Russian theater training as taught in Moscow Academy of Theater Arts (GITIS), a prestigious theater school that has shaped some of the country's most versatile artists. Since its founding, TRATS has gone on to stage numerous productions throughout stages in New York City, providing many critically-acclaimed shows including adaptations, new translations, short stories and plays---including works by Hans Christian Andersen, Mikhail Bulgakov, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Maxim Gorky, Alexander Pushkin, Tennessee Williams and more. Headed by internationally renowned stage director and master teacher Aleksey Burago, TRATS is currently based in the Upper West Side in Manhattan, where it regularly features both beloved and lesser-known works by Russian playwrights and authors. Additionally, TRATS has on-going acting training workshops open to professional and budding actors in its weekly Russian Theater Lab series, comprised of students from around the world.
Currently, our mission is two-fold. Firstly, through the exploration of new theatrical works as well as progressive re-imaginings of classics, we aim to preserve, promote and advance Russian arts and heritage in New York City. Secondly, through an affordable and accessible theater education program, we aim to train a new generation of imaginative, innovative, and sincere artists capable of serving the mission for generations to come.
Sir Derek Jakobi
A graduate of the Moscow Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), Aleksey studied under the world famous Russian director Pytor Fomenko. He has directed many productions to critical acclaim in Europe and America, including Beyond Recognition, which had a sold-out run at the Hermitage Theatre in St. Petersburg. His television production of Queen of Spades (Moscow TV) also received rave reviews. In New York, Aleksey has directed many productions, including On the Eve (Obie Nominee), Ah, My Dear Anderson (Time Out NY Critic’s Pick), Gamblers, The Master and Margarita, Lady with a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending, Vassa, An Absolutely Happy Village, In Paris, The Seagull, The Magic Forest of Baba Yaga, The Bear, The Great Nothing, Uncle Vanya, Avenue of Wonder, My Uncle Chekhov, Crime and Punishment, Three Sisters and Swan Song. His latest production of Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Or, The Devil Comes to Moscow played to rave reviews and enjoyed a sold-out run at the West End Theater. Aleksey is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Best Director Award at the Moscow Annual Festival of Classical Plays, Best Director Award at the St. Petersburg Comedy Festival, and the Best Show Award at the International United Solo Festival in NYC. Additionally, Aleksey's creation of Billy Bob Boils the Sea was selected to represent the United States at the 9th International Ordu Youth and Children’s Festival in Turkey. As a teacher, Aleksey has taught around the world, including Theatre Academy and Conservatory in St. Petersburg, GITIS Scandinavia in Denmark, International Festival in Mexico, Theater Communications Laboratory in Japan, Bilkent University in Turkey, and Manhattanville College and HB Studio in New York City.
Di Zhu is an actress, pianist and the Managing Director at The Russian Arts Theater and Studio. The Grand Prize Winner of the Inaugural International New York Piano Competition, Di's piano performances have been featured nationally on PBS, as well as WXXI and WQXR. As an actress, Di has appeared in many stage productions, most recently as Margarita in The Master and Margarita, which played to rave reviews. Other appearances include Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes And A Happy Ending, Enemies Of The People, Three Sisters, Crime and Punishment, Avenue of Wonder, Swan Song, My Uncle Chekhov, The Bear, Uncle Vanya, and The Seagull. Di was invited to join the cast of Love, Laughter and Vodka With Anton Chekhov: Selected Shorts Live at Symphony Space, where she performed Anton Chekhov's Death of a Government Clerk, sharing the stage with many notable actors of stage and film, including Rainn Wilson and Cynthia Nixon. Other New York theater credits include Theatre Three Collaborative's The Beekeeper's Daughter, Extreme Whether, and Another Life. Film and TV credits include Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, NBC's The Blindspot and the upcoming feature film A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.