Vsevolod Meyerhold

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Meyerhold prepares for his role as Konstantin in the MAT production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, Pushkino, 1898.
Born February 9, 1874(1874-02-09)
Died February 2, 1940(1940-02-02) (aged 65)
Collections RGALI, Yale Library
Web Wikipedia, Wikipedia-RU

Vsevolod Meyerhold (Всеволод Эмильевич Мейерхольд, 1874–1940) was a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatre producer.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 made Meyerhold one of the most enthusiastic activists of the new Soviet Theatre. He founded his own theatre in 1922, which was known as The Meyerhold Theatre and lasted until 1938. Meyerhold fiercely confronted the principles of theatrical academism, claiming that they were incapable of finding a common language that could reflect the new reality. The actors participating in Meyerhold's productions acted according to the principles of biomechanics, a system of actor training that was later taught in a special school created by Meyerhold. Meyerhold connected psychological and physiological processes and focused on learning gestures and movements as a way of expressing emotion outwardly. He developed a number of body expressions that his actors would use to portray specific emotions and characters.

Meyerhold was strongly opposed to socialist realism, and at the beginning of the 1930s, when Stalin was clamping down on all avant-garde art and experimentation, his works were proclaimed antagonistic and alien to the Soviet people. His theatre was closed down in January 1938. In 1939, Meyerhold was arrested and accused of anti-government political activities. Sentenced to death by firing squad on 1 February 1940, he was executed the next day.[1]



From Meyerhold on Theatre, trans. & intro. Edward Braun, London, 1969; rev. ed., 1998.


  • Meyerhold on Theatre, trans., ed. & comm. Edward Braun, London: Methuen, 1969, 336 pp; fully rev.ed., 1991, 336 pp; rev.ed., 1998. (English)
  • O Teatro de Meyerhold, ed. & trans. Aldomar Conrado, Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1969, 244 pp. (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Nasledie. 1. Avtobiograficheskie materialy. Dokumenty 1896-1903, ed. O.M. Feldman, Moscow: OGI, 1998. 744 pp. [1] [2]. Review: Syssoyeva (TDR 2010 EN). (Russian)
  • Meyerhold, et al., Meyerkhold i drugie [Мейерхольд и другие], ed. O.M. Feldman, Moscow: OGI, 2000. [3] (Russian)
  • Lektsii: 1918–1919, ed. O.M. Feldman, intro. B.I. Zingerman, Moscow: OGI, 2000. 280 pp. [4] [5]. Review: Syssoyeva (TDR 2010 EN). (Russian)
  • Nasledie. 2. Tovarischestvo novoi dramy. Sozdanie Studii na Povarskoi. Leto 1903–vesna 1905, ed. O.M. Feldman, Moscow: The New Publisher, 2006, 664 pp. Review: Syssoyeva (TDR 2010 EN). (Russian)


  • Marjorie L. Hoover, "V.E. Meyerhold: A Russian Predecessor of Avant-Garde Theater", Comparative Literature 17:3 (Summer 1965), pp 234-250. (English)
  • Mel Gordon, "Meyerhold's Biomechanics", The Drama Review: TDR 18:3 (Sep 1974), pp 73-88. (English)
  • John E. Bowlt, "Constructivism and Russian Stage Design", Performing Arts Journal 1:3 (Winter 1977), pp 62-84. (English)
  • Spencer Golub, "The Sleeping Idol", ch. 5 in Golub, The Recurrence of Fate, University Of Iowa Press, 1994, pp 123-153. (English)
  • Edward Braun, Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre, Methuen Drama, 1979; 2nd ed., rev. & exp., 1995, xi+347 pp. Reviews: Carnicke (MD 1996), Kiebuzinska (TJ 1996), Shannon (GLW 1999). (English)
  • Robert Leach, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Cambridge University Press, 1989. Ch. 1, Ch. 3, Ch. 9, [6]. (English)
  • Nikolai Pesochinsky, "Meyerhold and the 'Marxist Critique'", trans. Daria Krizhankaya and Martha Hostetter, St Petersburg Theatre Magazine 8 (1995); repr. in Theater 28:2 (Winter 1998), pp 34-45. [7] (English)
  • Alma Law, Mel Gordon, Meyerhold, Eisenstein, and Biomechanics: Revolutionary Acting in Soviet Russia, Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 1996, xi+282 pp. Introduction, Chs. 1&2, Chs. 4&5. Review: Kiebuzinska (TJ 1996). (English)
  • Katerina Clark, "Meyerhold's Appropriation of Gogol for 1926 in the Soviet Union", Theater 28:2 (Winter 1998), pp 27-33. (English)
  • N.M. Tarabukin o Meyerkholde [Н.М. Тарабукин о Мейерхольде], ed. O.M. Feldman and V.A. Scherbakov, Moscow: OGI, 1998, 112 pp. [8] [9] Five previously unpublished texts on Meyerhold's performances of 1928-35. (Russian)
  • Meyerkhold, rezhissura v perspektive veka. Materialy konferentsii. Vypusk pervyy [Мейерхольд, режиссура в перспективе века. Материалы конференции. Выпуск первый], eds. Beatrice Pikon-Vallin (Беатрис Пикон-Валлен) and Vadim Scherbakov (Вадим Щербаков), Moscow: OGI, 2001, 512 pp. Conference proceedings. [10] [11]
  • Jonathan Pitches, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Routledge, 2003. (English)
  • Oleg Aronson, "Teatr i affekt. Biomekhanika Meyerkholda vs. psikhotekhnika Stanislavskogo" [Театр и аффект. Биомеханика Мейерхольда vs. психотехника Станиславского], in Sovetskaya vlast i media [Советская власть и медиа], eds. Kh. Gyunter and S. Khensgen, St Petersburg: Akademicheskiy proekt, 2006, pp 296-305. (Russian)
  • Julia Vaingurt, The Biomechanics of Infidelity: Range of Motion and Limits of Control in Meyerhold's Theatre", ch. 2 in Vaingurt, Wonderlands of the Avant-Garde: Technology and the Arts in Russia of the 1920s, Northwestern University Press, 2013, pp 54-83. (English)


  1. Andrey Smirnov, Sound in Z: Experiments in Sound and Electronic Music in Early 20th-century Russia, London: Koenig Books & Sound and Music, 2013, p 117.

See also