Nikolai Demidov’s Organic Acting Technique

  • Nikolai Demidov’s Organic Acting Technique
  • Nikolai Demidov’s Organic Acting Technique
  • Nikolai Demidov’s Organic Acting Technique
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About this course


6 days

Term Start

July 2021

Entry Requirements

Applications are welcome from those aged 18+.

Throughout the course, participants will train in the culture of creative freedom, at the root of the Organic Acting Technique. Training will put them in touch with their unique creative individuality by teaching them to recognize and follow their own artistic instincts.

Improvisational text etudes, at the basis of the Demidov training, will stimulate spontaneity and emotional richness in actors, instigating the free flow of subconscious creativity. The workshop will also introduce techniques of engaging Intuition and achieving Creative Passivity and Calm.

Special emphasis in the workshop will be placed on the intimate process of the character’s inception, and on its organic facilitation. It will feature techniques of divorcing one’s habitual mask, and allowing for an inimitable embryo of the character to develop into a fleshed-out, individualized artistic creation. 


Why choose this course?

Nikolai Demidov’s School of Acting is Russian Theatre’s best-kept secret. Until the first decade of the 21st century, the name of Nikolai Demidov (1884-1953) was known only to a narrow circle of specialists.  In Russia today, the Demidov heritage is making its way into the curriculum at some of the country’s top acting conservatories, where it is now acknowledged as “pedagogy of the future”.

One of the three original teachers of the Stanislavski System, Demidov was the first editor of Stanislavsky’s seminal book An Actor’s Work (An Actor Prepares). He co-founded the Fourth Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre, and served as the founding director of the Moscow Art Theatre School.  Stanislavsky’s close collaborator for over 30 years, Demidov went on to disagree with Stanislavsky on the use of analysis. Demidov’s own School approaches an actor’s process as an indivisible flow of subconscious creativity – from the first steps of training.  Moreover, Demidov pioneered a non-analytical, organic acting technique that enables actors to access and facilitate their intuitive process.

The Organic Technique has proven successful in accessing the heightened emotional spheres, due to Demidov’s insight into professional secrets of the great tragedians, such as Eleonora Duse, Tommaso Salvini and Ira Aldridge. Above all, the Demidov Technique is aimed at developing independent actors-creators, capable of generating their own work and serving as equal collaborators to their fellow directors.

For the last decade, Professor Malaev-Babel has been developing the Demidov School of Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota, Florida. Together with his students, he established training programs, dedicated to the Demidov technique, in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and UK.

Fee and Application Information

Monday 5 July to Saturday 10 July - 6 pm to 10 pm BST (UK) daily

Course fee
Early Bird Fee: £300. 5 Tickets available 
Usual Booking Fee: £350

How to Apply

Please email for any enquiries.

Please click here to read our terms and conditions.

Course content

Throughout the course, participants will train in the culture of Creative Freedom, at the root of the Organic Acting Technique. Training will guide them to engage their creative individuality by "green-lighting" hidden artistic instincts.

This course is based in Demidov's signature etudes (improvisational exercises), at the heart of his training. Demidov etudes with spontaneously created circumstances, characters and relationships, will stimulate unpredictability and emotional richness, instigating free flow of subconscious creativity. Participants in the course will practice the intimate process of character's inception, organic accumulation and facilitation. Introductory workshop will also feature techniques of achieving Creative Passivity and Calm, indispensable for the theatre of heightened emotions.

Day 1
“Assigning” the text. Technique of the beginning – “non-restructuring.”

Day 2
The technique of “green-lighting.”

Day 3
The origin of “given circumstances.”

Day 4
Approach to character: “Me” and “Not me.”

Day 5
“Inexact” (creative) repetition.

Who is this course for?

Actors and directors, as well as students of those disciplines. This course is NOT designed for teachers.


Kate Brown, London Actor
"A fortnight in Moscow to explore the Demidov technique (in English) with master teacher Prof Andrei Malaev-Babel was life-changing as an actor. This extraordinary approach, unlike any I’ve encountered before, empowers the actor to work more organically and with greater understanding of their unique creative process – physically, vocally and psychologically. By using simple, practical Demidov “exercises”, as well as offering the opportunity to observe others at work, the course gave me tools to access instinct, impulse and emotional energy. I came away with the means to take ownership of my craft, to hone skills with independent practice, to assign lines in Demidov style and truly connect with other actors, to give characters spontaneous life. The teaching is intense, sensitive, personal and demystifies notions of what each actor may bring to their work and to the shared collective experience. I’m so grateful for it all. There’s no turning back as my journey continues - book a place and go!"

Andrei Biziorek, Director, Demidov Studio London Teacher, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Working with Professor Andrei Malaev-Babel has been the most revelatory artistic experience of my life. Being introduced to the Demidov technique completely changed my approach to, thinking about and experience of acting, directing and to theatre - and in fact to life in general. The technique is a certainly a profound approach to acting, a way into the secrets of the affective creative state, but it is also an incisive window into the psyche, consciousness and spiritual development of the human being. In meeting and working with this technique, it was as if everything I had been travelling towards intuitively was opened to me by a genius who had already blazed the path. Professor Malaev-Babel is a true master of this technique and it is a privilege to learn from him.

Tutor Profile
Andrei Malaev-Babel is the Head of Acting and Professor of Theatre at the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. He served as the Producing Artistic Director for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio, an award-winning company in Washington, DC, where he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award as an Outstanding Director. His productions were presented at The Kennedy Center and The National Theater in Washington, DC, where he also appeared as a performer. He has also served on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. During the time of Perestroika, he co-founded the Moscow Chamber Forms Theatre, one of Soviet Union’s first private companies.

Productions directed by Professor Malaev-Babel were presented at international festivals, including Volkov Theatre Festival (Yaroslavl, Russia). His most recent of The Cherry Orchard premiered in Moscow at the Stanislavsky House-Museum.

Professor Malaev-Babel is the author of the Guide to the Psychological Gesture Technique, published in Michael Chekhov’s seminal book, To the Actor (Routledge, London and New York, 2003). His groundbreaking volumes on Yevgeny Vakhtangov’s heritage, The Vakhtangov Sourcebook and Yevgeny Vakhtangov: A Critical Portrait, came out from Routledge in 2011 and 2012. He has co-edited and co-translated an English-language collection of Nikolai Demidov’s theatrical heritage, Becoming an Actor-Creator (Routledge, 2016).

Professor Malaev-Babel is the Curator and Artistic Director of the Demidov School Laboratories, Moscow and London, and the founding master-teacher of the Demidov Summer School, Russia. His reputation as one of the leading experts on Russian theater and acting techniques, have brought him engagements and commissions from institutions, such as Stanford University, The Smithsonian Institution, The World Bank, Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (St. Petersburg); the Latin American Film Festival and Teatro Escola Macunaíma (Brazil); Young Vic Theatre and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (UK); and The Odessa Philharmonic (Ukraine). He serves on the board of the Michael Chekhov Association in NYC, and on the advisory board of the Stanislavski Centre (UK). He is also a Member of the International Scientific Committee for Arti Dello Spettacolo-Performing Arts (Italy). Andrei Malaev-Babel is a graduate of the Vakhtangov Theater Institute in Moscow, Russia. He trained and worked under Alexandra Remizova, co-founder of the Vakhtangov Theater, Stanislavsky’s student and Vakhtangov’s protégé.

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