About Breaking String

Breaking String Theater is a theater company in Austin, TX that presents drama important to Russian history and exposes Austin audiences developing Russian theater. We seek to connect people across time and culture.

Our mission is to create excellent productions of Russian traditional and avant-garde plays, provide artists with a creative, respectful and professional work environment, and be a thread in the rope linking Russian and American theater communities via collaboration with Russian theater artists through our partnerships with the Center for International Theatre Development’s Philip Arnoult, and Moscow-based critic/translator John Freedman.

The name of our company derives from a mysterious stage direction from Act II of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard:

Suddenly, as if from the sky, the sound of a breaking string, dying away, forlorn.

Producing Artistic Director

Graham Schmidt is the artistic director of Breaking String Theater Company and also its resident translator and director. In 2003 and 2005, he studied at UT’s Shakespeare at Winedale program under James Loehlin. While an MA candidate in UT’s Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Graham received a grant to research the early history of Chekhov’s plays at the Moscow Art Theatre (Moscow, Russia). Also at DSES, he contributed to the Cambridge Introduction to Chekhov (Loehlin, 2009). In 2010, he was invited to participate in the Center for International Theatre Development's New Russian Drama Conference at Towson University, where the idea for Breaking String's first New Russian Drama Festival first began to take shape. Breaking String and CITD were quickly joined in this effort by several partners, including Austin's Rude Mechanicals and Fusebox Festival.  He has been recognized for his work as a translator and director by the Austin Critic's Table and B. Iden Payne Awards. Recent credits for Breaking String include Lyudmila Petrushevksaya’s Cinzano (director, translator), Chekhov’s The Seagull (director, translator), The Cherry Orchard (director, translator), Uncle Vanya (director, translator), Flying by Olga Mukhina (director), Ibsen’s Ghosts (director, adaptor), and Maksym Kurochkin’s The Schooling of Bento Bonchev (director). In September of 2012, thanks to support from the US Embassy in Moscow's American Seasons Initiative (under the auspices of the US-Russia Bi-Lateral Presidential Commission) and CITD, Graham will travel to Moscow to participate in the Lyubimovka new play festival at Theater.Doc.

Creative Consultants

  • John Freedman
  • Philip Arnoult
  • Dr. James Loehlin
  • Robert Matney (Director of Technology)

Web Collabors