HISTORY

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 Manhattan and around the world, 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.

MISSION

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.

ADVISORY BOARD

  • Rosemary Harris
  • Dana Ivey
  • Judith Ivey
  • Sir Derek Jakobi
  • Brian Murray

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Aleksey Burago

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 theater ensemble with passion and intimacy, works closely with the creative team, and centralizes the company's inventive and inspired work environment. A graduate of the Moscow Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), Aleksey is a protege of 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 over thirty 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 many sold-out performances at The Balcony 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 2011 International United Solo Festival. 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, Manhattanville College, the International Festival in Mexico, and most recently at the Theater Communications Laboratory in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan. Besides teaching Russian Theater Lab at TRATS, Aleksey is also on faculty at HB Studio and is the Director-In-Residence at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Di Zhu

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 Master and Margarita, Or, The Devil Comes to Moscow. At Theater Three Collaborative, Di has played Admira in The Beekeeper's Daughter (Theater for a New City), Rebecca in Extreme Whether (Cherry Lane Theater & TNC), and Another Life (TNC & 2013 RADA Festival, London) Overseas, Di has performed in Turkey at the 9th Ordu International Theatre Youth and Children Festival with Billy Bob Boils the Sea, an original show she co-wrote with director Aleksey Burago. She has also recently served as an assistant director and acting coach at Bilkent University in Ankara on the production Lady with a Lapdog, with Jokes and a Happy Ending, based on the short stories of Anton Chekhov. Alongside Aleksey Burago, she has also served as assistant teacher in Stanislavsky and Michael Chekhov Workshops in Osaka and Toyko, Japan. Select New York theater credits include Three Sisters (Masha) Crime and Punishment (Sonya), Avenue of Wonder (Dark Woman), The Great Nothing (Pianist), My Uncle Chekhov (Olenka), The Bear & Other Jokes by Anton Chekhov (Popova), Uncle Vanya (Yelena), The Seagull (Masha), Border Sweet Border, In Ghostly Japan (New York Magazine Critic's Pick) and Dr. Chekhov's Swan Song + Other Prescriptions. Film and TV credits include Paramount Picture's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and NBC's The Blindspot.