back to top

A Day In The Life Of Russian Drama School Students

It's much more than 11 hours per day--6 days a week routine.

Posted on

Wednesday morning; 08:30. Vasilyevskiy Island, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

A bunch of students rummage around the school dormitory--All dressed in black. Some immediately rush to the metro. Some straight to their own studios. Some take the time to wind up and smoke packs of cigarette.

Then, most of these aspiring performers would take up 45 minutes journey to the main drama school building, located at the historical district of Mokhovaya Ul. 34, in the heart of St Petersburg. The rest would sprint to the local theatres they work at and spend several hours working on scenes, musical numbers, and technical skills with coaches and professional directors.

Russian student-performers, during the rehearsal for Warsong Concert at Saint Petersburg State Music Hall.

Depending on the time of the day, training and rehearsals may take up from 4-5 hours. Sometimes they take place in the morning, sometimes in the evening, after lectures. The institute takes in about 100 talents per year out of staggering 5000 applicants, on average. The acting and directing students then would be separated into several studios, depending on the Head Director and the local theatre they work for—be it Alexandrinskiy Theatre, Molodyozhniy Theatre, Music Hall, etc.

Lectures are divided into two parts—theory and practice. In theory, actors and directors would still have to study core subjects, such as History, Health and Safety, Russian Language, Foreign Language, Literature, and many interesting ones such as Mythology and Philosophy. The practical subjects would normally involve dancing, stage movement, acrobatic, and voice practice. Lectures commence at 09:30. Then students would get lunch at 14:30.

Not only that the institute caters for actors and directors, they also provide majors in Producing, Stage Design, Puppetry, and Theatre Studies, all in both Bachelor and Master level, as well as Doctoral.

Every year, several performances are held in the Student Theatre located in the same district as the school building. Each group of students would perform shows that they've worked for years with their Head Director, in addition to their own stage works. Annual concerts and conferences are also held, displaying talents of different courses.

Typically, students work minimum 10 hours per day, and constant availability is also demanded of them. The day usually ends at 10 PM, and finishing earlier than 8 PM is often treated as a luxury. Sometimes they even work during holidays. Nonetheless, the spirit and vibe that goes along with the creativity that outpours from their work are visibly stark and vibrant. I asked a third-year student what made him stay, despite all the hardship and everything else. He replied with a snark, "This is what we want to do in our life. And we make sure we finish what we start."

First-year students get all-around treatments, meant to condition their body, speech, voice, and movements in order to prepare them to deliver any texts given. The lecturers use combinations of Stanislavsky technique and modern approach to stage acting. The actors are expected to prepare their own materials and work them out with their Head Directors. Then on the second and third year, each studios would begin to prepare their own final year performance. Showcases are held at the end of every semester, as well as theoretical exams.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!