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Igor Golyak

Founder & Artistic Director, Arlekin Players Theatre & (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab. Contemporary art creator. Live/Virtual Theater. VR and XR experiences. 2x NY Times Critics Pick.

Igor Golyak is the founder and producing artistic director of Arlekin Players Theatre & Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab. He is directing the New York premiere of Our Class, Off-Broadway, at BAM in 2024. He conceived and directed The Orchard starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht Off-Broadway in 2022. A global leader in the virtual theater movement, in 2023 he directed Just Tell No One, part of the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings/CITD, at Lincoln Center featuring Jessica Hecht, Bill Irwin and David Krumholz, and directed the virtual elements of the Sasha Denisova’s The Gaaga (US premiere). During the pandemic, he conceived and directed WITNESS, chekhovOS /an experimental game/ and State vs. Natasha Banina, each of which became an international virtual theater sensation, receiving multiple New York Times Critics Picks. His work has been recognized with Elliot Norton Awards for The Orchard, The Seagull, The Stone, and Dead Man’s Diary, including a special Citation for extraordinary artistic innovation during the pandemic. Golyak is 2023 Mandel Fellow and winner of a Broadway World’s Best Director Award and multiple This Week In New York Pandemic Awards. He directed The Merchant of Venice for Actors’ Shakespeare Project and has directed and taught at Northeastern University, HB Studios, Boston Conservatory, the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts/Middlesex University, Moscow Specialized Institute for the Arts, and the ARBOS Theatre Festival. Golyak is from Ukraine and received a master’s degree in directing from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts and an acting degree from Moscow’s Schukin Theatre Institute (Vakhtangov Theater). He started an #ArtistsforUkraine initiative days after the war began, and his company Arlekin, a company of immigrants, has performed all over the world, including festivals in Ukraine, Yerevan, Romania, Armenia, New York City, Chicago, Lviv, Monaco, the US, Canada and UK, as well as the Moscow Art Theatre.

A promotional graphic for Theatre Tech Talks.
A Twelve-Foot Robotic Arm, Like Chekhov Would Have Wanted 

A Twelve-Foot Robotic Arm, Like Chekhov Would Have Wanted 

25 January 2024

In this episode, Tjaša chats with director Igor Golyak of Arlekin Players about the power of virtual theatre and the experience of using technology that had never before been used for live performance. And if you were wondering why there was a twelve-foot robotic arm on stage, serving coffee and sweeping the floor in The Orchard at Baryshnikov Center, Igor thinks that’s what Chekhov would have wanted.