Pushkin House in collaboration with The Stanislavski Centre for Contemporary Practice at Rose Bruford College

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

7:30pm to 9pm

Pushkin House 
5a Bloomsbury Square
Click here for directions

Tarkovsky in London

In 1983 film director Andrei Tarkovsky came to London at the invitation of the Royal Opera House to direct his first opera production, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. At the time Irina Brown, having moved to Britain in 1978, was directing a project for a fringe opera company, mentored by the Head of Staff Producers at ROH, who invited her to come on board as Tarkovsky’s interpreter and second assistant director on the production.

During an evening of conversation with film maker Sophie Fiennes, Brown will recall the time spent with Tarkovsky working on the production of Boris Godunov (revived by her on a number of occasions at the ROH as well St Petersburg and Monte Carlo). His work and his approach to the creative process has informed her work ever since. They were not only colleagues but also good friends. Brown and her husband invited the Tarkovskys to stay with them throughout their three months’ sojourn in London

Brown will for the first time share photographs of Tarkovsky taken by her in London and Paris in the final years of his life. In addition, Brown will play short edited excerpts of recordings of public lectures Tarkovsky gave at that time in London, at the peak in his creative career, yet tortured by being separated from his 13 year-old-son who was kept hostage in Moscow by the Soviet authorities. 

Tarkovsky was to die of cancer in 1986, having never made it back to the Soviet Union.


Sophie Fiennes is an English film director and producer. Between 1992 and 1994 she managed the UK based dance company the Michael Clark Company, and in 1998 began making her own films. With Peter Greenaway she worked on films and TV projects including Drowning by Numbers, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and Prospero's Books.

Fiennes's films include: The Pervert's Guide to Cinema and The Pervert's Guide to Ideology both made with Slavoj Žižek, Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow about a project by Anselm Kiefer, and a documentary about Grace Jones called Bloodlight and Bami.


Irina Brown is the curator of the Stanislavski Centre for Contemporary Practice (Rose Bruford College). Born and educated in St Petersburg, she has lived and worked in Britain for over forty years. Her prolific career has spanned opera and theatre, classical drama and new writing. Innovative interpretation of classics, physicality and evocative visual language are the basis of her theatrical practice. Irina was Artistic Director of Tron Theatre, Glasgow and Joint Artistic Director of the Natural Perspective Theatre Company, London. She has directed for the Royal National Theatre and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Scottish Opera, Mariinsky and Opéra de Monte-Carlo. Recent opera work includes: Anna Bolena by Donizetti (2018 Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe, Germany); Prokofiev’s original version of War and Peace (Scottish Opera, world premiere); Dominique Le Gendre’s Bird of Night (Royal Opera House, world premiere); Shostakovich’s The Gamblers (LPO, Vladimir Jurowski) and, with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (City of Light: Paris 1900–1950 Festival); Shostakovich’s Orango ( RFH, 2013, European premiere, revived at the BBC Proms 2015); a triple bill of Stravinsky’s Renard, Mavra and Les Noces (Stravinsky Festival: Tales at the Royal Festival Hall, 2016). She started her career assisting Andrei Tarkovsky on Boris Godunov (ROH), which she later revived for the Mariinsky, Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the twentieth anniversary production at ROH. She had collaborated with Karlheinz Stockhausen for her translation of Donnerstag aus Licht (ROH Publications). Her notable theatre work includes: an award-winning Further Than the Furthest Thing by Zinnie Harris (Royal National Theatre/ Tron); a highly acclaimed The Importance of Being Earnest (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Southern Shakespeare Festival, Florida, USA); War and Peace at the Circus (adaptor/ director for Giffords Circus); Racine’s Britannicus (Natural Perspective); Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women (Oxford Playhouse); The Vagina Monologues (West End and national tour); The Sound of Music (WYP); and Our Country’s Good (Tabakov Theatre, Moscow).