Boris Mikhailovich Sushkevich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sushkevich, Boris Mikhailovich


Born Jan. 26 (Feb. 7), 1887, in St. Petersburg; died July 10, 1946, in Leningrad. Soviet stage director, actor, and teacher. People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1944).

Sushkevich worked at the Moscow Art Theater and later became an actor there. He helped found the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theater (after 1924 called the Second Moscow Art Theater), later supervising the studio and becoming its stage director. There he staged a number of plays in which he also appeared as an actor, including Dickens’ The Cricket on the Hearth, Strindberg’s Erik XIV, Sukhovo-Kobylin’s The Lawsuit, and A. N. Tolstoy’s Peter I.

A student of K. S. Stanislavsky, Sushkevich also worked with E. B. Vakhtangov and L. A. Sulerzhitskii. As a director, Sushkevich revealed psychological depths and presented comprehensive and profound interpretations of literary works.

In 1933, Sushkevich became artistic director of the Leningrad Academic Drama Theater (now the A. S. Pushkin Leningrad Academic Drama Theater). There he directed Gorky’s Enemies (1933), Pushkin’s Boris Godunov (1934), Korneichuk’s Platón Krechet (1935), Gogol’s The Inspector-General (1936), and A. N. Tolstoy’s Peter I (1935; second and third versions, 1938).

In 1937, Sushkevich became head of the New Theater in Leningrad. In 1941 he staged Wolf’s Professor Mamlock and Solov’ev’s Field Marshal Kutuzov, playing the title role in both plays. His most important production was Hauptmann’s Before Sunrise (1940), in which he gave an inspired portrayal of the character Matthias Klausen.

Sushkevich taught at the Leningrad State Theater Institute as a professor from 1933 to 1941 and as director beginning in 1936. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and medals.


Sem’ momentov raboty nad rol’iu. Leningrad, 1933.
“Osnovnye momenty vospitaniia aktera.” In Zapiski Leningradskogo teatral’nogo instituía. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.