V.E. Meyerhold’s Biomechanics-new information from the archive

Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

Project academic: Dr Rose Whyman

Project summary

My current research is into on the actor training system of Biomechanics developed by V.E. Meyerhold after the Russian revolution. Meyerhold’s work was suppressed under Stalin and though materials and information on his work has been emerging since the 1980s there remains a great deal of archival information which has not been published even in Russian.

I have collected considerable information in the form of photographs of documents on microfiche and taken some hand written notes. I am working to collate, take notes from and translate some of this rare material to inform my current book project Performer Training in Revolutionary Russia - The Art and Science of Biomechanics and further publications.

This project is important as the use of Meyerhold’s Biomechanics is increasing in actor training today in the UK and beyond and a reassessment of the value of this work for today’s actor is timely.

What you will do 

  • decipher and help with translations, working from photographs of archival manuscripts.
  • transcribe sections of manuscripts, working from photographs of archival manuscripts
  • work closely with existing publications of the archival materials in Russian and English and the digital catalogue, noting cross-referencing.
  • perform a small amount of research into the biographies of the theatre artists mentioned in the materials.
  • assist in the compilation and checking of the bibliography for the book.  

Skills required

  • Excellent Russian language skills and an interest in translation
  • Some interest in developing skills in palaeography (deciphering handwriting)
  • An interest in working with archival materials
  • Basic knowledge of Russian theatre of the Revolutionary period would be an advantage but is not necessary
  • The ability to work independently and with commitment within the framework of a larger project

How will the project benefit you?

  • The scholar will learn about the processes involved in an archival project.
  • The scholar will gain detailed knowledge of Russian theatre of the Revolution which will be of significant benefit when pursuing study options or dissertation topics.
  • The scholar will develop skills in translation
  • The scholar will develop the ability to keep meticulous, comprehensive notes and be involved in developing an extended bibliography – which will be important when it comes to writing an undergraduate dissertation

Where now?


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