- Majority of material found within 1912-1954
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
67 linear feet (28 boxes)
Biographical / Historical
Born into a theatrical Russian family, a son of an opera singer, and a younger step-brother of a prominent Russian actress Vera Komissarzhevskaia, he was raised in Italy and Russia. In 1903 he joined his sister's company in Saint-Petersburg as a director and designer. He moved to Moscow in 1910, where he opened his own studio and worked with a number of companies staging and designing dramas and operas. After the October Revolution of 1917, he was named Director of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In 1919 he left Soviet Russia and shortly afterwards settled in England.
In the 1930s his productions of King Lear and Macbeth for the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Memorial Company were widely acclaimed as the most innovative of his time. He also published a study of theatrical costumes, translated and wrote plays, and gave lectures at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1930s he designed interiors for a number of landmark movie theatre buildings of the Granada Theatres Ltd.
Komisarjevsky moved to the United States in 1939, where he staged a number of productions at the New York City Opera, gave lectures on theatre, and opened Komisarjevsky Theatre Studio in New Haven, where he taught summer courses and staged versions of Russian classics with his students. He died in Darien, Connecticut in 1954.
- I. Correspondence
- II. Compositions
- III. Production records
- IV. Printed material
- V. Photographs
- VI. Biographical material
- VII. Additional material
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Designs were cataloged as part of the Russian theatrical designs at the Harvard Theatre Collection project and are listed in the Harvard VIA catalog under the designer's name. Prompt books are cataloged in Harvard's HOLLIS catalog.
- Komisarjevsky, Theodore, 1882-1954. Theodore Komisarjevsky papers, 1912-1970: Guide.
- Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA