Lev Dodin was born in Siberia in 1944 where his mother had been evacuated during the war. He began studying theatre as a child at the Leningrad Young Viewers’ Theatre and after graduating high school entered the Leningrad Theatre Institute where he studied with Boris Zon, a student of Stanislavsky.
Dodin’s debut as a director came in 1966 with the televised performance of First Love based on the story by Ivan Turgenev. Then came dozens of shows staged at theatres in St Petersburg, Moscow and abroad. Among these were It’s a Family Affair – We’ll Settle it Ourselves, The Mirror, Rosa Berndt, A Gentle Creature, The Golovlev Family and Bankrupt. Among his opera productions are Elektra for the Salzburg Festival, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District for Florence’s May Festival, Mazepa at Milan’s La Scala, The Demon at Paris’s Châtelet and The Queen of Spades in Amsterdam, Florence and Paris.
His first work for the Maly Drama Theatre was Karel Capek’s The Robber in 1974, and Abramov’s The House followed in 1980. He became the theatre’s Artistic Director in 1983 and since that time his works for Maly include Brothers and Sisters, Lord of the Flies, Stars in the Morning Sky,Gaudeaumaus, The Possessed, Desire under the Elms, Claustrophobia, The Cherry Orchard, A Play with no Name, Chevengur, Uncle Vanya, King Lear, Life and Fate, Love’s Labours Lost and Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Dodin began teaching acting and directing in 1967 and today he is a professor at the St Petersburg Academy of Theatrical Arts where he is the Chair of the Directing Department. He has taught several generations of actors and directors, many of whom are currently associated with the Maly Drama Theatre.
Many of Lev Dodin’s shows have won international prizes and awards, including state prizes of Russia and the USSR, the Triumph Independent Prize, Golden Mask National Awards and a Lawrence Olivier Award. In 2000 he received the European Theatre Award and in 2001 was awarded the Russian Presidential Award.