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What is Masterskaya?
Who is the Master?

The concept of ‘Masterskaya’, derived from artisan guild traditions whereby a trade is passed on directly through practical work  from Master to Apprentice, is the format whereby all artists, visual, performing or otherwise,  are taught in Russia, Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Russian acting schools, no less renowned than their British counterparts, unlike these, operate within a ‘Masterskaya’ structure which means that one and the same team of Tutors trains a group of actors across four years of a Higher Education programme.  An Acting Faculty uniting all ‘Masterskaya’ within a greater performing arts institution are sub- divided into Cathedrae which include Acting, Voice (Speech, Diction), Movement (Acrobatics, Stage Combat, Juggling, Eccentric dances etc.), Dance (Ballet Barre, Folkloric and Ballroom), Singing and Humanitarian Sciences (Literature, Philosophy as well as histories of visual arts, cinema, theatre etc).  

A ‘Masterskaya’ is generally composed of a Master, a Chief Pedagogue and several supporting acting tutors; the course Master position is generally occupied by an experienced artist of renown having the interest, time and disposition to train younger actors but whose input and participation in day-to-day teaching will depend on his or her professional commitments,  particular pedagogical interests as well as experience and abilities.

The main difference between the British and the Russian approach however is that in a British school not one teacher will practically ever work with the same student cohort across the three years of study and the Acting discipline is imparted divided up into workshops that focus each on different styles and genres:  Text-based acting, Physical/collaborative theatre, Shakespeare & Contemporaries, 19th Century Psychological Realism etc. 

Russian actor training, like Russian sport and dance,  excels not only because of Stanislavski’s methodologies but due also to an organization whereby students directly benefit from the practical experience with the  practitioners who take it upon themselves to turn out new generations of actors who able to work within the exacting benchmarks that they  themselves were trained in. The ‘Masterskaya’ concept not only preserves teaching traditions but also the highest of standards.


Konstantin graduated from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS/RATI) as a Drama and Opera Director, a pupil of the renowned theatre maestro Roman Viktuyk. He ran his own independent fringe theatre in Moscow from 1999-2004. His production credits include several award-winning theatre productions. He has completed his MA Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Konstantin has over ten years’ experience in broadcasting, video production and media.

Konstantin Kamenski is lecturing Russian Theatre to the BA Year II students in the Goldsmith College University of London, teaches Theatre to the students of Dilijan Summer School in Armenia and works as a guest Theatre teacher at Tel Aviv Drama School

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