Mariia Knebel

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Knebel’, Mariia Osipovna


Born May 6 (18), 1898, in Moscow. Soviet director and teacher. People’s Artist of the RSFSR since 1958.

Knebel’ began studying theater in 1918 at the M. A. Chekhov Studio and continued her education at the Second Studio of the Moscow Art Theater. She joined the troupe of the Moscow Art Theater in 1924, concentrating mainly on poignant single-faceted parts (for example, Charlotta in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Karpukhina in Uncle’s Dream, after Dostoevsky).

Knebel’ directed her first play in 1935 with the Ermolova Moscow Theater. Productions followed of Arbuzov’s A Long Road (1936), Gorky’s The Last Ones (1937) and Children of the Sun (1937; jointly with N. P. Khmelev), and Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1940). Her Moscow Art Theater productions included The Kremlin Chimes by Pogodin (1942; jointly with V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko and L. M. Leonidov) and Ivan the Terrible (The Difficult Years) by A. N. Tolstoy (1946; jointly with A. D. Popov). She became a director of the Central Children’s Theater in 1950 and was its head director between 1955 and 1960. Her productions there included A Page From Life by Rozov (1952).

Knebel’ has a strong affinity for the plays of Chekhov, and she staged Ivanov in 1955 at the Pushkin Moscow Theater and The Cherry Orchard in 1965 at the Central Theater of the Soviet Army and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. She staged Ostrovskii’s Talents and Admirers at the Mayakovsky Moscow Theater in 1969.

Knebel’ began teaching in 1932. After 1948 she taught in the department of directing of the A. V. Lunacharskii State Institute of Theatrical Art. She became a professor there in 1960. Knebel’ has been awarded two orders and various medals.


Slovo v tvorchestve aktera. Moscow, 1954.
O deistvennom analize p’esy i roli Moscow, 1961.
Vsia zhizn’. [Vospominaniia aktrisy]. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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