Akimov, Nikolai

Akimov, Nikolai Pavlovich


Born Apr. 3 (16), 1901, in Kharkov; died Sept. 6, 1968, in Moscow. Director and artist. People’s Artist of the USSR (1960); professor (1960).

Akimov studied in the artists’ studios directed by M. V. Dobuzhinskii, A. E. Iakovlev, and V. I. Shukhaev. He began designing sets in the theater in 1922, and in 1929 he also began directing plays. His first independent production was Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1932, the Vakhtangov Theater). From 1935 until his death (with one interruption) he was the director of the Leningrad Theater of Comedy. The best performances he directed and designed were distinguished by a subtle, exquisite irony, an acute grasp of character, and a search for new modes of expression.

Akimov designed the sets for Armored Train 14–69 by Vs. Ivano (1927) and Fear by Afinogenov (1931), both performed in the Leningrad Academic Drama Theater; The Break by Lavrenev (1927) and Intrigue and Love by Schiller (1930), both performed in the Vakhtangov Theater; and Liubov’ Iarovaia by Trenev (1936), The School for Scandal by Sheridan (1940), and The Naval Officer by Kron (1945), all performed in the Moscow Art Theater. In the Leningrad Theater of Comedy he directed and designed sets for the following plays: Dog in the Manger by Lope de Vega (1936), Twelfth Night by Shakespeare (1938 and 1964), The Widow of Valencia by Lope de Vega (1939), The Shadow by Shvarts (1940), An Ordinary Miracle by Shvarts (1956), The Dragon by Shvarts (1962), and Don Juan by Byron (1963). At the Lenin Soviet Theater in Leningrad he staged and designed The Shadow by Saltykov-Shchedrin (1953) and The Affair by Sukhovo-Kobylin (1955).

Akimov’s creative works also included paintings, drawings, playbills, and book illustrations. He was awarded three orders.


O teatre. Leningrad-Moscow, 1962. (Second edition entitled Ne tol’ko o teatre. Moscow, 1966.)


Bartoshevich, A. N. Akimov—khudozhnik. Leningrad, 1947.
Etking, M. Akimov—khudozhnik. Leningrad, 1960.
Syrkina, F. Teatral’ny plakat N. Akimova. Moscow, 1963.