OffWestEnd talks to Kirill Levman, Israeli theatre director, whose production of The Seagull is currently available online

Kirill Levman is an Israeli theatre director. Born in Russia in 1971 he began his theatre career in Israel at the age of 43. Since then, he has had six serious and successful productions, running on the stages of Tel Aviv. He has high regard for British dramaturgy and particularly Shakespeare but he has a strong interest in Russian work between the time of Pushkin and Chekhov. He calls himself “a British theatre freak”, visits London a lot and considers Shakespeare’s Globe to be the best theatre in the world.

What first attracted you to the theatre?
I’m always asking why people (not only professionals) like to do theatre? Why they are sitting and writing sketches for birthdays parties, sent children to theatre circles? I’ve got an answer: because they need it. I’m trying to give it to them, and when they are happy – I’m happy too.

If you could pick any one person or theatre company to work with on your next project, who/which would it be?

Oh, I am probably supposed to choose here some great name. Maybe one day. At first, I always dreamt to have “actors of mine”. Now I have a few. Do you want to know a few names of future stars? Write it down: Oz Nissan and Daphna Goldman. I’ll bring them over here one day. For a while see them in my shows on this web site (see below).

What is your opinion of Off West End theatre, in general?

I like it. The main claim of my activity is to bring the theatre of today to a wide audience. It has to be smart and progressive, but simple – not arrogant and confusing. I think British fringe is very good in it.

What was the most inspiring production you have ever seen? Why?

Again, I’ll pick not a very well known show, but something I saw almost twenty years ago in a small fringe theatre in Russia. It was The Seagull by Chekhov and it was not the first adaptation I’ve seen, but since then I have dreamt of creating a production of this play myself. And I did.

What piece of work are you the most proud of?
I’d like to say The Seagull, but probably I’ll continue developing my relationships with Chekhov. A few years ago, I directed the Israeli Fringe Theatre Award Ceremony. This is my most important contribution to history for a while.

What things in your personal life do you draw upon when you direct?

Oh, everything. I think every artist just can’t separate themselves from every single moment of their existence. People, places, events, dreams – I bring everything to my rehearsal room. My life is my work, everything is of it. I’m working 24 hours 7 days a week. Even when I sleep.

Are there any actors/actresses you would like to direct?

Ok, let’s give a credit for some known name, but let’s stay in her original place. I think Emilia Clarke is a really brilliant actor of today. Send her my e-mail!

Which director do you respect most on OffWestEnd at the moment?

One of the best shows I’ve ever seen is Cyprus Avenue, directed by Vicky Featherstone at the Royal Court Theatre. Probably I’ll give my prize to her. A few years ago, I met Lisa Cagnacci at her course and I have very warm memories of her.

Can you tell our readers about what you’re doing now/next?

It’s in the very beginning and it’s a secret. I’ll only say that I’m going to realise my threats to the British theatre. It’ll be a British play.

More information on Kirill’s online production of The Seagull can be found at