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Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure

“Unsettling poignancy. Vivid and uncommonly moving.”

The New York Times

Written by William Shakespeare
Performed in Russian with surtitles
Running time 1 hour 50 minutes, no interval

With his unique brew of laughter and high seriousness, Shakespeare dissects the nature of government, love, and justice – asking unsettling questions about how we are governed, exploring the “complex relationships between those in power, and ordinary citizens” (Kristina Matvienko).

Measure for Measure has been nominated for five Golden Mask awards, including Best Large Scale Drama Production and Best Director for Declan Donnellan.

Hailed in Moscow as “a shattering portrait of contemporary Russia” (Novaya Gazeta), Cheek by Jowl’s Measure for Measure, through “a series of swiftly changing spectacular scenes” (Teatral) explodes as “a real thriller, piercing the heart of the entire audience” (Mir 24).

Measure for Measure is about many different things; it always strikes me as a very modern play. It’s a play about control and how one of the ways that we are controlled, by not only governments, but by churches and other institutions that seek to control us, is shame. We are controlled by shame. It starts with parents and it develops, and it is an extremely good way of controlling people.”
– Artistic Director Declan Donnellan

Produced by Cheek by Jowl and the Pushkin Theatre, Moscow in a co-production with the Barbican, London; Les Gémeaux/Sceaux/Scène Nationale; Centro Dramático Nacional, Madrid (INAEM).

Cast and creative team


Alexander ArsentyevThe Duke
Alexander FeklistovLucio
Anna VardevanianIsabella
Nikolay KislichenkoElbow
Andrei KuzichevAngelo
Anastasia LebedevaJuliet/Francis
Ivan LitvinenkoExecutioner
Alexander MatrosovProvost
Elmira MirelMariana/Mistress Overdone
Alexey RakhmanovPompey
Yuri RumyantsevEscalus
Petr RykovClaudio
Igor TeplovBarnadine

Creative Team

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Assistant DirectorKirill Sbitnev
Lighting DesignerSergei Skornetsky
ComposerPavel Akimkin
ChoreographerIrina Kashuba
Technical DirectorAlexander Solomin
LightingPavel Bolotin
SoundEvgeniia Bilinkis
WardrobeElena Vorobyeva
PropsEkaterina Vitushkina
MakeupElizaveta Pravosudova
StagehandVladimir Mazlov
Stage ManagerMarina Krymova
Surtitle EditingAnna Kolesnikova
Surtitle Operator & InterpreterLiliia Kazakova
Consultant ProducerAnna Kolesnikova
General Manager of the Pushkin TheatreAnna Volk
Artistic Director of the Pushkin TheatreEvgeny Pisarev
Production PhotographyJohan Persson
Previous performances

Previous Performances

6–7 April 2019Meiningen, Meininger Staatstheater, Germany
25 December 2018Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
24–28 October 2018Boston, Arts Emerson, USA
16–21 October 2018New York City, BAM, USA
10–13 October 2018Washington, The Kennedy Center, D.C, USA
28 April 2018Craiova, International Shakespeare Festival Craiova, Romania
28 March 2018Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
14 February 2018Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
18–19 October 2017Quimper, Théâtre de Cornouaille, France
4 August 2017Gdansk, Gdański Teatr Szekspirowski, Poland
7–11 January 2017Sydney, Roslyn Packer Theatre (Sydney Festival), Australia
29 November 2016Cluj-Napoca, Teatrul Maghiar de Stat Cluj, Romania
14 October 2016Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
16–20 August 2016Edinburgh, Royal Lyceum Theatre, UK
1–7 August 2016Elsinore, Hamlet’s Castle (Kronborg), Denmark
24 April 2016Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
27–31 January 2016Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, USA
31 October 2015Murcia, Teatro Circo Murcia, Spain
28–29 October 2015Girona, Teatre Municipal de Girona (Temporada Alta), Spain
23 October 2015Vitoria-Gasteiz, Teatro Principal Antzokia, Spain
2 October 2015Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
25 September 2015Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
17–18 June 2015Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
2–3 June 2015Omsk, Omsk Drama Theatre, Russia
28 April–2 May 2015Oxford, Oxford Playhouse, UK
22 April 2015Worldwide, Livestream from Barbican, UK
15–25 April 2015London, Barbican, UK
28 March 2015Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
6 March 2015Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
9–31 January 2015Sceaux, Les Gémeaux, Paris, France
14 December 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
23 November 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
5 November 2014Moscow , Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
12 October 2014Tallin, Vene Theatre, Estonia
10 October 2014Tartu, Vanemuine Theatre, Estonia
18–21 September 2014Madrid, Teatro María Guerrero (Centro Dramático Nacional), Spain
30 May 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
11 May 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
5–6 April 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
14 March 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
9 March 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
8 February 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
4 February 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
25–26 January 2014Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
26 December 2013Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
18 December 2013Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
6 December 2013Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
1994See also – Cheek by Jowl’s previous 1994 production of Measure for Measure
Awards and reviews


Outstanding Visiting Production 2019

Boston Theater Critics Association’s 37th Elliot Norton Awards  

Golden Mask Award Nomination 2013–14

Best Large Scale Production – Measure for Measure
Best Director – Declan Donnellan
Best Set Design – Nick Ormerod
Best Male Performance – Andrei Kuzichev as Angelo

Golden Mask Award 2013–14

Best Lighting Design – Sergei Skornetsky



“Declan Donnellan’s Russian cast are so electrifyingly intense and disturbing that they make your hair stand on end.”

Kate Bassett, The Times. Read the full review

“A gripping moral thriller”

Sarah Hemming, Financial Times

“Like a punch to the guts”

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph. Read the full review

“A punchy reminder that power corrupts”

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian. Read the full review

“Real, thought-provoking finesse”

Paul Taylor, The Independent. Read the full review

“A stylish and cut-throat examination”

Honour Bayes, The Stage. Read the full review

“Stunningly encapsulated”

Michael Coveney, What’s On Stage. Read the full review

“fascinating and frequently gripping”

Patrick Marmion, Time Out. Read the full review

“Hits new, uncompromising heights of a kind we rarely see on the British stage”

David Nice, Arts Desk. Read the full review


“Declan Donnellan’s Measure for Measure furiously evokes contemporary Russia.”

Hugues Le Tanneur, Les Inrocktibles

“Theatre at its most beautiful.”

Armelle Heliot, Le Figaro. Read the full review

“Here is a world that portrays the oppressive authoritarian regime… where control and corruption go hand in hand.”

Hugues Le Tanneur, Liberation. Read the full review

“Declan Donnellan’s Measure for Measure is full of the Russian soul.”

Phillipe Chevilley, Les Echos

“Scenes that are worth all the talk.”

Didier Méreuze, La Croix. Read the full review

“Remarkable. We salute all of the Pushkin Theatre’s actors.”

Corinne Denailles, Web Theatre. Read the full review


“Donnellan’s exquisite mastery is beyond doubt. But here even more importantly he manages to convey with power and conviction the eternal conflict between the self interest of those who rule and the people who crave for mercy; between the double-dealer and those who suffer beneath his yoke. Shakespeare gives a for-all-times definition of the idea of opposition, its meaning only having increased as time has passed, and increased infinitely.”

Marina Tokareva, Novaya Gazeta

“Russia today anatomised in Declan Donnellan’s new show, an immaculate performance. Trenchant, compelling, stunning, the entire company are breathtaking.”

Vash Dosug

“From every point of view this production is a total success.”

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

“Authentically Russian.”

RBK Daily

“A shattering portrait of contemporary Russia.”

Novaya Gazeta

“Donnellan is not the first foreign director to work in Russia, but probably the first to have felt the true spirit of Russian theatre, its absolute essence. The greatest traditions of Russian theatre pulse through his work.”

Ria Weekend

United States

“Unsettling poignancy… vivid and uncommonly moving… a strange, ultimately profound beauty.”

The New York Times. Read the full review

“Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod build a whole world out of the human form.”

The Washington Post. Read the full review

“Transfixing, eerily current.”

The Boston Globe. Read the full review
Production photo
Alexander Matrosov, Peter Rykov and Alexander Arsentyev. Photograph: Johan Persson.
Production photo
Measure for Measure. Photograph: Johan Persson.
Production photo
Anastasia Lebedeva and Alexey Rakhmanov. Photograph: Johan Persson.

“Like a punch to the guts”

The Telegraph

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.

A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.

Oscar Wilde

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