About Valleri Robinson
Valleri (Hohman) Robinson (CBA ’20), Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois, is author of the book Russian Culture and Theatrical Performance in America, 1891-1933 (Palgrave 2011). She received a Fulbright Award to work with Nikolai Kolyada at the Kolyada Theatre in Ekaterinburg, Russia in 2014. Her current book project, Cold War Stages: Performing Peace and Friendship in the Public Sphere, 1942-1965, has been supported by the American Theatre and Drama Society Faculty Research Award and the University of Illinois Research Board Award. She has published articles and book chapters on translating and adapting Anton Chekhov, adaptation as creative practice, the legacies of Yiddish playwright Jacob Gordin and director Konstantin Stanislavsky in America, and Arthur Miller’s impact in the 1940s. Robinson also works as a professional dramaturg and teaches courses on dramaturgy, adaptation, theatre historiography, and contemporary performance theory.
Cold War Stages: Rebuilding American-Soviet Peace and Friendship through Cultural Exchange, 1958-1962
Robinson’s CBA Fellowship project is a study that centers on impresario Sol Hurok’s cultivation of a mass American audience for Soviet performance through the touring performances of the Moiseyev Folk Ensemble, the Beryozka Folk Ensemble, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Obratsov Russian Puppet Theatre, the Moscow Circus, and a massive Russian Festival of Music and Dance from 1958-1962. It explores how the American public was primed for these performances and how repertoire and choreography were selected to impress Americans with Russia’s cultural excellence, to promote a sense of multicultural, multinational unity, and to counter anti-Soviet representations in the U.S. This work examines the countless ways in which these Soviet performances on U.S. soil and the events surrounding them re-energized the American-Soviet Friendship movement and re-opened public spaces for debate activated around these performances for ‘peace.’