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Slava Polunin

Slava Polunin
  • Europe
  • Metteur en scène
  • Acteur

Slava Polunin was born in 1950 in Novossil, south of Moscow.
He grew up in the Russian countryside where, at the age of eleven, he first saw Charlie Chaplin’s performance in The Kid. “I didn’t get to see the end because my parents turned off the television, but… the next day, I already knew for certain what I wanted to do with my life. A few years later Slava moved to Saint Petersburg, still known then as Leningrad, and embarked upon a career as a comic mime. Thanks to the series of comedies he created with his performing partner A. Skvorcov, Slava Polunin achieved cultural icon status in Russia.
His clowning alter ego is Assissaï, a ridiculous yet touching little man in a yellow suit and red, hairy shoes. Assissaï combines the poetic melancholy of Soviet-era clown Leonid Yengibarov, the philosophical refinement of Marceau’s mime, and the humanity and moving comedy of Chaplin – Polunin’s three greatest inspirations.
As the character evolved, the idea of a whole clown theatre began to take shape. A kaleidoscopic mixture of characters joined forces under the banner of the ‘St. Petersburg Clown Theatre’, founded by Polunin in the late 1960s.
Twenty years later Slava’s career took a new direction when he turned his attention to tragicomedy, with the ambition of “bringing clowning back into the theatre”.
1993 witnessed the birth of the now-legendary Slava’s Snowshow, a phenomenon which has been touring the world ever since. The show has won no fewer than 20 of the theatre world’s most prestigious awards, including an Olivier Award and gongs from Drama Desk, Triumph and Golden Nose.
Slava Polunin has also worked as an artistic director and producer for numerous high-profile festivals.
In 2013 Slava Polunin was named Artistic Director of Russia’s oldest and largest circus company – the St. Petersburg State Circus (also known as the Bolshoi).

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Mimos 1997

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