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Dr Jesse Gardiner, Lecturer

Dr Jesse GardinerContact Details
Phone: 01334 462958
Office: Quad 66

Module surgery hours:
Tuesday 3-4, Wednesday 1-2

Full research profile

Research and Teaching

My research focuses on theatre and drama in twentieth-century Russia, Russian visual culture and the history of the Soviet Union. I have articles published on Bertolt Brecht’s reception in Russia and the theory of ‘conflictlessness’ in post-war Soviet drama and a book chapter forthcoming on the director Oleg Efremov in the edited volume Russian Theatre in Practice. My research is interdisciplinary and combines the study of cultural history, literary and performance analysis, and critical theory within the context of Russian and Soviet studies.

I am currently working on a monograph titled Return of the Avant-garde: Soviet Theatre during the Thaw, which explores the revival of avant-garde theatre productions and play texts in the period following Stalin’s death. In the monograph I argue that the return of avant-garde theatre to the stage broke down the hierarchies of aesthetic representation that formed during the Stalinist period and opened up a space within the cultural sphere for new interpretations and directions. This process was crucial in allowing the Soviet public to re-imagine its relationship to state power, the West and the recent past.

I teach Russian language at first, second and third-year level and Russian literature from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, including the following Honours modules: ‘Theatre and Performance in Twentieth-Century Russia’ (RU3043); ‘A Special Russian Author of the Twentieth Century: Mikhail Bulgakov’ (RU3030). I also teach Russian components on Comparative Literature modules and on the graduate module ’New Approaches to the Russian Literary Canon’ (RU5013).

I welcome enquiries from postgraduate students on all aspects of 20th and 21st-century Russian theatre and drama, as well as performance studies and critical theory.

I run a theatre group within the department for students of Russian and we stage plays performed in Russian at the end of semester 2. In spring 2018 our students performed Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters. In 2019 they performed Valentin Kataev’s comedy Squaring the Circle. All students are encouraged to take part, no matter what their level of Russian or acting experience. Those taking Beginner’s Russian are especially welcome.

Three sisters Squaring the circle‌‌


Oleg Efremov: the heir to Stanislavsky
Gardiner, J. D. S., 18 Apr 2019, Russian Theatre in Practice: The Director's Guide. Skinner, A. (ed.). Bloomsbury, (Performance Books).
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


No conflict on the stage: the theory of beskonfliktnost’ in postwar Soviet drama
Gardiner, J., Jul 2018, In : Russian Review. 77, 3, p. 427-445
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mother Courage and Political Pragmatism: Sovietising Brecht during the Thaw
Gardiner, J. D. S., Oct 2015, In : Slavonic and East European Review. 93, 4, p. 626-654
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Review of Robert Leach, Russian Futurist Theatre: Theory and Practice
Gardiner, J. D. S., Jun 2019, In : Journal of European Studies. 49, 2, p. 206-207 2 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Review of Laurence Senelick, Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters
Gardiner, J. D. S., Apr 2016, In : Modern Language Review. 111, 2, p. 601-603
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review