Moscow Art Theatre Design Intensive

by Zane Franklin

Zane is a 2019 alumnus of the design track of IFTER’s Moscow Art Theatre School Summer Intensive. Here’s a look into his training in Moscow.

Upon arriving in Moscow and waking up for our first classes of the week, we started out with a walk. The walk down Tverskaya was around thirty minutes, but it was one of the nicest walks I’ve had the pleasure of taking on the regular.

The classes we had were about what most would expect to be taking, Set Design, Costume Design, Lighting, etc. but, the Russians treat design completely different than we do here in America. Design is treated as a fine art, something to be appreciated, and they train you that way. Twice a week we had drawing class and painting as well where we practiced our fine art skills that could transfer into our designs.


However, my art skills are nothing compared to the other Russian students; the designs and projects that they were doing were absolutely incredible.

This is a set a technologist student did for Peter Pan. This quality is what the professors wanted out of each and every student, which was very stressful but very worth it.


We had intensive classes in nearly every aspect of design including history of set design, history of costumes, a whole class dedicated to military dress in Chekhov’s time, and classes spent at the state art library pouring over original photos from Chekhov’s time. 


One other absolutely amazing thing we were able to do is tour the workshops, stages, and backstage areas of multiple theatres in Moscow including the Moscow Art Theatre, the Bolshoi, and Lenkom Theatres. (Most theatres asked me not to post pictures) 

This program was absolutely amazing and a blessing to be a part of. I would recommend any aspiring designer or tech person to take this and share in these wonderful experiences. 

Our next design course will be offered in Summer 2021. Stay tuned for more information!