From the 3rd to 6th of December 2012 the festival-laboratory “The Forth Height. From A to Z: An alphabet of children’s theater” took place in Saratov Academic Kiselev Youth Theater.

Organized by:
Saratov Academic Kiselev Youth Theater,
Russian social organization «Theater Union of Russian Federation
(Russian Theater Society)»
with the support of RF Ministry of Culture.

In 2011 one of the main Saratov Youth Theater projects, creative laboratory “The Forth Height” turned five. Laboratory form of work is a very important initiative on repertoire’s renewal and establishing new connections between the theater and its audience. The most successful reading-performances prepared by directors together with theater’s actors are included in the repertoire and turned into full-scale performances. And as we can say by the experience of previous laboratories, they stay in the repertoire for many years.

It’s time to summarize what we’ve got so far and make a progress report for our audience. As it was with the seventh “The Forth Height” laboratory that took place in autumn 2011 under the title “The Shakespeare Festival” and had a vast international programme the theater feels that working only in the “laboratory form” is not enough.
A new step in the project’s developing was combining of the laboratory with the festival “From A to Z”, another important theater’s initiative that is aimed to bring together Volga Region theaters for children and youth to create an integral theater community. This festival will turn 10 years old the next year. The project was named “The Forth Height. From A to Z: An alphabet of children’s theater”.

In the festival-laboratory program there were traditional reading-performances of contemporary plays for children, readings of the plays by famous playwright Yaroslava Pulinovich (Yekaterinburg), festival presentation of the performances of Saratov Youth Theater that appeared in the repertoire after previous laboratories and a guest performance by Volsk Drama Theater.
In the laboratory program there was two plays. Young Moscow director Pavel Zobnin (graduated from Sergey Zhenovach’s class) was in the project for the first time, he presented the play by Guy Holland and Carey English “Upstairs in the Sky”. The second reading performance prepared by theater’s actors presented play by Thomas Tidholm “The Journey to Ugri-La-Brek”. For the first time a young director from Saratov, theater’s actor Artem Kuzin also participated in the laboratory. He is known to the Saratov audience by his bright musical performances on the Big Stage of new theater’s building – “The New Year in the New House” and “How to Find a Road to the Sun?”. On the laboratory he presented the reading performance of the play by Sergey Kozlov “The Hedgehog and the Christmas Tree”. This was the second work of young director on Sergey Kozlov’s plays, in the theater’s repertoire there was a performance based on his book “Along the Green Hills of Oceania” staged by Artem Kuzin.

Besides the reading-performances in the program of the festival-laboratory there were readings of two plays by Yaroslava Pulinovich – “How I became” and “Phoenix bird is homeward bound”. Saratov audience is familiar with the works of this playwright – the performance “Natasha’s Dream” that had appeared in the theater’s repertoire as a result of the laboratory in 2008 since then has been successfully touring along the country, and also they may remember the reading-performance of her “I won’t be back” movie script staged by Marat Gatzalov in 2010, also on the laboratory. Today Yaroslava Pulinovich is one of the most well-known young playwrights in Russia, her plays are being staged all over the country.

In the festival part of the project there were three performances. Volsk Drama Theater presented on the Small stage the play by Ekaterina Orlova “The best of everything is for children”, director – Nina Zvereva (Volsk). Also during the festival-laboratory actors of Saratov Kiselev Youth Theater presented a workshop for children and their parents “Playing Theater”. During the workshop children learned about various theater professions and had a chance to participate in creating of a performance. The project’s motto was: “Bored of sitting in the audience?! Come to t\our workshop and make theater yourself!”

In the end of the festival-laboratory “The Forth Height. From A to Z: An alphabet of children’s theater” two performances that were included in the theater’s repertoire after previous laboratories were presented. They not only became the full-scale performances but also audience’s favorites: “About my Mother and Myself” based on the play by Elena Isaeva, director - Maria Romanova (Saint-Petersburg) and “There will be no Winter” based on the play by Viktor Olshanksy, director - Ekaterina Gorokhovskaya (Saint-Petersburg).    

The new form of festival-laboratory allowed presenting in only four days several types of work. One of the main goals of the project is to show the way that a play goes trough from the first reading to the reading-performance and full-scale production on the stage of professional theater. The other goal is to create an alphabet of contemporary plays for children, show the variety of themes, age categories and genres that exist in this field. And of course, after this laboratory as usual new production has appeared in the repertoire.

Guests of the festival-laboratory were Olga Glazunova (Moscow) - the head of the theater for children and puppet theater department of Theater Union of Russian Federation and Elena Volgust (St. Petersburg) theater critic and also representatives of theater and humanitarian departments of Saratov universities and academies.

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