The Russian Arts
Theater & Studio

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St. Paul and St. Andrew's logo


The Russian Arts Theater & Studio was founded in 2004 by Artistic Director Aleksey Burago and actress Snezhana Chernova. The couple both graduated from distinguished theater academies—namely, the Moscow Academy of Theater Arts (GITIS) and the St. Petersburgh Academy of Theater Arts. They brought forward their extensive study and experience in hopes of creating a New York theater company that would pass on the rich theater traditions and practices of Stanislavski and Michael Chekhov as well as introducing lesser-known Russian repertoire to American audiences.

The company has provided many critically-acclaimed shows for the New York community, including adaptations, new translations, short stories & plays---from Hans Christian Andersen to Anton Chekhov to Tennessee Williams. Most recent acclaim went to ensemble member Danusia Trevino for her award-winning auto-biographical one-woman show, directed by Artistic Director, Aleksey Burago.

In the early months of 2011, members of the current ensemble came forward to revamp and modernize the company outlook to better reach contemporary audiences. A new repertory and educational program was developed, along with the launch of the company's new website. In September 2012, the Russian Art Theater signed with the historic Stanton Street Shul and gained residency in the Lower East Side, where the company will be providing affordable theater productions to the New York Community.

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Mission Statement

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.

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Who is Who

Advisory Board
Rosemary Harris
Dana Ivey
Judith Ivey
Sir Derek Jakobi
Brian Murray ​
Roger Rees
Barry Schneider (Business Consultant)
Aleksey Burago, Artistic Director
Aleksey Burago's picture

As the Artistic Director of The Russian Arts Theater & Studio, Aleksey Burago helms the company's artistic vision, theatrical form, seasonal programming and message. He directs the ensemble with passion and intimacy, works closely with the creative team, and centralizes the company's inventive and inspired work environment.

Having gaduated from Moscow Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), he studied under the internationally renowned director Pyotr Fomenko. Aleksey returned to his native city in St. Petersburgh to stage numerous shows in different state theaters, including the Theater of Youth, Puskin Theater and the Baltic House Theater. His production of "Beyond Recognition" premiered at the Hermitage Theater and received international attention. His directorial work has received awards both in New York and abroad, the most current being the 2010 Best One Person Show at the United Solo Festival. In Russia, he had been awarded Best Director in the Moscow Annual Festival of Classical Plays and also the St. Petersburgh Comedy Festival.

Aleksey has taught acting in the Theater Academy and Conservatory in St. Petersburgh, Danish Theater School (GITIS) in Scandinavia, Manhattanville College, and most recently at the International Theater Festival in Mexico. He is currently on the faculty at HB Studio, where he also serves on the HB Ensemble Board.
Aleksey Burago, resume
Read Aleksey's articles on Backstage!
"Acting Not for Fame, But for Feeding Your Inner Fire"
"5 Rules For the Theater Actor"

Di Zhu, General Manager and Teacher
picture of Di Zhu

Di Zhu is a New York City based actress, pianist, composer and teacher. In the past, her performances have been broadcasted nationally on PBS in the documentary Speaking with Music,  directed by Lucy Bruell. Most recently, Di was featured on Lifetime Channel's production of Celebrity Ghost Stories, playing the role of Jennifer in the Max Adler Story. Di works closely with The Russian Arts Theater & Studio, performing regularly under the artistic direction of Aleksey Burago. In their recent sold-out run of Uncle Vanya, her interpretation of Yelena was a hit with audiences, scholars and reviewers alike. Shortly afterwards, Di was invited as a guest speaker on playing Chekhov at John Jay University. In 2013, Di made her London debut with Theatre Three Collaborative at the Royal Academy of Dramatics Arts (RADA) Festival, where she played the leading role of Lucia in Karen Malpede's original play Another Life, opposite actor George Bartenieff. Additionally, Di has performed in Turkey at the 9th International Children and Youth Theatre Festival in the production Billy Bob Boils the Sea. New York theater credits include Extreme Whether (Cherry Lane Theater, with Zach Grenier), The Snow QueenThe Seagull, House of Curiosities, The King is Dead, Long Live the King!, Border Sweet Border, In Ghostly Japan (New York Magazine Critic's Pick) and Dr. Chekhov's Swan Song (+Other Prescriptions). She has studied with many internationally-renowned teachers in the arts, including Patricia Hansen, Natalya Antonova, Nelita True, Norman Taylor, Chris Bayes and Aleksey Burago. Di has served as an assistant teacher at HB Studio and is also currently teaching Stanislavsky 101 at The Russian Arts Theater & Studio. 

Marina Talalaeva, Project Manager
picture of Marina Talalaeva

Marina is a native of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia and is fluent in Russian and English. In New York City, she has worked extensively with children while completing her studies at HB Studio. In the past, Marina has studied with world-renowned teachers, including Aleksey Burago, Sam Groom and Norman Taylor. Currently working as Project Manager at The Russian Arts Theater & Studio, Marina recently assistant produced Dr. Chekhov's Swan Song + Other Prescriptions, where she also made her New York stage debut. The show performed to sold-out houses at the historic Stanton Street Shul and was a great hit with both Russian and American audiences.

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