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Past Projects: Russia 
New American Drama


The New American Drama project is a major cultural initiative to bring new American voices into Russian theater.  Now in it’s third year, it has resulted thus far in:

  • 7 translated and adapted plays by contemporary American playwrights

  • 8 mini festivals of professional staged readings all around Russia

  • 7 full professional productions in 4 cities around Russia (to date)


Charles Mee’s BIG LOVE, translated by Sergei Task, presented at ON.Teatr in St. Petersburg

  • The addition of 7 new American voices into the contemporary Russian theater reality.  These voices have joined O’Neill, Miller, Williams, and Albee in the growing canon of American theater in Russia.


The New American Drama project stemmed out the New Russian Drama Project (2007-2010).  Based off of NRD’s success, Philip Arnoult, director of CITD, and John Freedman decided to reverse the direction, to bring plays from contemporary American voices to Russia, receiving funding from the US Embassy in Moscow through the Bilateral Presidential Commission.  The plan was simple and included major Russian participation.


First, four US partners were gathered to curate the original list of potential plays:  New York Theatre Workshop, Jim Nicola • Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Preston Whiteway • Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Christopher Hibma • Actors Theatre of Louisville, Amy Wegener.

The partners traveled to Russia with Philip Arnoult in October 2010 to meet theater artists and learn about the contemporary theater culture there, organized by Russia project manager John Freedman. That visit resulted in the recommendation of 26 plays from new American voices that they felt would translate well into Russian culture and could find a Russian audience.

Curatorial control of the project was then turned over to the Russians.  John Freedman worked with 7 readers, all Russian theater professionals who spoke English, to read and recommend of the 26 plays the ones for further translation and adaptation.  7 scripts were recommended for translation.


Adam Rapp’s NOCTURNE, adapted by Maksym Kurochkin, in a production by Kama Ginkas. Photo by Ken Reynolds.

The Plays

7 contemporary American plays have been translated and adapted for by Russian playwrights for Russian audiences.

  • The Book of Grace by Suzan-Lori Parks, adaptation by Yury Klavdiev, translated by Maria Nikolaeva

  • The Aliens by Annie Baker, adaptation by Mikhail Durnenkov, translation by Yekaterina Raikova

  • Talk Radio by Eric Bogosian, adaptation by Ivan Vyrypaev, translation by Anna Shulgat

  • Nocturne by Adam Rapp, adaptation by Maksym Kurochkin, translation by John Freedman

  • End Days by Deborah Zoe Laufer, adaptation by Nina Belenitskaya, translation by Alexander Belenitskaya

  • Big Love by Charles Mee, translation by Sergei Task

  • Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz, translation by Yevgeny Kazachkov


The playwrights and adapters in the order listed above. Americans on the top, Russians on the bottom.

The Results

The results so far are highly successful.  All seven plays have received several readings all over Russia, and several of the plays have received one or more full productions, with more and more theaters investing in them.

We expect this project to grow more and more in the coming years.  You can follow the progress of New American Drama on Russian project manager John Freedman’s website.

New American Drama for Russia is Funded By:


These voices have joined O’Neill, Miller, Williams, and Albee in the growing canon of American theater in Russia.


Because of the central place theater holds in Russia, these American voices–diverse, impassioned, quirky, political, emblematic, and personal–create an opportunity for a new and deep Russian-American dialogue at an important moment.

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