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Three Sisters

Three Sisters

Written by Anton Chekhov
Performed in Russia

Arguably the greatest play of the twentieth century, Three Sisters tells the tale of Olga, Irina and Masha whose lives are turned upside down by the arrival of glamourous officer Vershinin to their remote town. Their eternal struggle to live and to love is charted with Chekhov’s sharp eye and unfailing humanity.

Produced by the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, Committee for Culture of Moscow, Chekhov International Theatre Festival / Moscow ; Les Gémeaux / Sceaux / Scène Nationale, La Filature / Mulhouse ; in cooperation with Cheek by Jowl. With support of the British Council in Russia.

The first performance of this production was given on 6th April 2005 at Les Gémeaux, Sceaux, Paris.

“I cannot imagine a more delicate, luminous and emotionally piercing production… Heartbreaking simplicity”

The Times
Cast and creative team


Alexei DadanovProzorov Andrey Sergeevich
Victoria Tolstoganova / Ekaterina SibiryakovaNatalia Ivanovna, his fiancée
Evgenia DmitrievaOlga
Irina GrinevaMasha
Nelly UvarovaIrina
Vitaly Egorov / Evgeny PisarevKulygin Fedor Ilyich, Masha’s husband
Alexander FeklistovVershinin Alexander Ignatievich
Andrey KuzichevTuzenbakh Nikolay Ljovich
Andrey MerzlikinSoleny Vasily Vasilievich
Mikhail Zhigalov / Igor YasulovichChebutykin Ivan Romanovich
Yury MakeevFedotik Alexey Petrovich
Mikhail DementievRode Vladimir Karpovich
Igor Yasulovich / Mikhail Zhigalov / Yury SmirnovFerapont, Caretaker
Galina MorachyovaAnfisa, Nurse

Creative Team

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Lighting DesignerJudith Greenwood
Assistant DirectorEvgeny Pisarev
MusicSergey Chekryzhov
Vocal CoachAida Khorosheva
Movement CoachRamune Khodorkaite
Interpreter, Literary ConsultantDina Dodina
Costume Designer’s AssistantNatalia Vedeneeva
Stage ManagerOlga Vasilevskaya
Technical DirectorVladimir Kizeev
Previous performances

Previous Performances

26–27 April 2013Saint Petersburg, Russia
25 December 2012Moscow, Vakhtangov Theatre, Russia
10 December 2012Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
9–10 November 2012Spain, Girona
1–4 November 2012Spain, Madrid
21 June 2012Moscow, Mossovyet Theatre, Russia
8–11 June 2011Nottingham, Theatre Royal, UK
19–20 October 2010Washington, The Kennedy Centre, D.C, USA
29–30 January 2010Russia, Yalta
29 September–3 October 2009Dublin, Dublin Theatre Festival, Ireland
6–10 September 2009Yekatrinburg, Russia
29 July–3 August 2008Brisbane, Brisbane Festival, Australia
22–28 February 2008Wellington, The Opera House, New Zealand
31 August–2 September 2007Helsinki, Finish National Theatre, Finland
15–19 May 2007London, Barbican, UK
9–12 May 2007Newcastle, Northern Stage, UK
1–5 May 2007Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre, UK
24–28 April 2007Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Theatre, UK
24 June–3 July 2006Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
31 March–2 April 2006Bogotá, Bogotá International Festival, Columbia
28–30 April 2005Mulhouse, La Filature, France
6–24 April 2005Sceaux, Les Gémeaux, Paris, France


“Chekhov’s characters, whom we think we know all too well, suddenly burst open, dazzlingly and unforgettably. No one other than Donnellan could have achieved this. He is the first and the unrepeatable.”

Kommersant, Russia

“I cannot imagine a more delicate, luminous and emotionally piercing production of Chekhov’s drama than Cheek By Jowl’s. Performed by the company’s Russian ensemble, it is directed by Declan Donnellan with utter precision, while Nick Ormerod’s design, with its tiny symbolic doll’s house and oppressive backdrop of perilously tilting walls and windows, conveys the way in which the Prozorov family home is both prison and sanctuary. And the acting is nothing short of sublime…Heartbreaking simplicity; simply heartbreaking.”

The Times

“Miraculous Simplicity. Superb!”

Le Figaro, France

“Chekhov as it should be: Declan Donnellan directs an ensemble of the finest Russian actors”

The Irish Independent

“An American ear may not recognize many of the words spoken in this splendid production, performed in Anton Chekhov’s native tongue by a superb Russian cast. But the heart surely connects with all the meticulously realized feeling, the sense of the air being let out of inflated hopes, in a household of declining fortunes in a turn-of-the-20th-century Russian backwater.”

The Washington Post

“Simplicity and clarity of staging allow the complexity to emerge gradually… The freshness here comes from precision, as Donnellan and Ormerod pay attention to every detail of performance and characterisation, picking out the isolation of each character within the close-knit group.”

The Irish Times

“This is a great production, and a thrilling rediscovery of a great and familiar play. Declan Donnellan has lifted from it the bittersweet mist of gentility and melancholy.”

The Sunday Times

“Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, the artistic directors of Cheek By Jowl, are in the unusual position of being considered national treasures in two countries – their native England and their adoptive Russia. The company’s visiting productions had so impressed Moscow and St Petersburg that in 1999 the Theatre Federation took the unprecedented step of inviting them to form a Russian counterpart to Cheek By Jowl. This luminous version of Three Sisters, brilliantly performed by that ensemble, constitutes a complete explanation of why the Russians have taken Donnellan and Ormerod to their hearts…I have never seen a production of the play that moved with such expressive fluency or that communicated its volatile, contradictory moods with a more piercing precision.”

The Independent
Production photo
Photographer: Igor Zakharkin
Production photo
Photographer: Igor Zakharkin
Production photo
Photographer: Igor Zakharkin

“Chekhov as it should be: Declan Donnellan directs an ensemble of the finest Russian actors”

The Irish Independent

In the past, man filled his life with war. Campaigns, invasions, victories. That’s over and a vast empty space has been left.

Reply this minute, for heaven’s sake. Don’t delay.

Letter from Olga Knipper to Chekhov

What seems to us serious, significant and important will, in future times, be forgotten or won’t seem important at all

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