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Robert Ellermann

As a teacher and director, Robert Ellermann was influenced by Lee Strasberg, Robert (Bobby) Lewis, Kim Stanley, Frank Corsaro, David Garfield, Maria Knebel and Nikolai Demidov. In addition, he studied directing with Jack O’Brien, Adrian Hall, Michael Kahn and Gerald Freedman. Robert also worked with teachers directly certified by Mikhail Chekhov in the 1930’s to teach Chekhov’s work: Deidre Hurst du Prey, Felicity Mason and Beatrice Straight. In addition, Robert had the honor of knowing the last surviving original member of the Moscow Art Theatre’s seminal First Studio – Vera Soloviova. Madame Soloviova was one of Stanislavsky’s earliest students (starting in 1908) and the peer, acting partner and friend of Richard Boleslavsky. Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Mikhail Chekhov and Maria Ouspenskaya. Robert was able to discuss the work of Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov, Sulerzhitsky and Mikhail Chekhov, particularly their use of the ‘system’, with Madame Soloviova. Over the last five decades, Robert has exhaustively researched the work of Lee Strasberg, covering Strasberg’s nearly 60 year career; as well as, the profound influence of Stanislavsky in the US and Russian-Soviet-Russian theatres, especially the work of the Group Theatre and the various studios of the Moscow Art Theatre. In the former Soviet Union, the leading Stanislavsky scholar, Inna Soloviova, humorously referred to him as “the American Stanislavsky fanatic”. In 1983, he was invited by Robert Lewis to serve as co-director of the Robert Lewis Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles. In 1988, Robert was invited by Stanislavsky’s great-great grandson to the first International Stanislavsky Conference in Paris and in 1990 Robert was invited to the Soviet Union by the Moscow Art Theatre to observe classes and rehearsals in the leading Russian theatres and schools. In 2021, Robert introduced Lee Strasberg’s Method to the Russian Academy of Theatrical Art (formly GITIS) in Moscow via Zoom classes. Robert has taught private classes in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson and Houston. He is currently working on a book about the relationship between the work of Lee Strasberg and that of Konstantin Stanislavsky. Over the years, Robert has directed the plays of Michael Weller, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, David Rabe and Horton Foote, among others. At the Institute, Robert presented a production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters after an intensive six month rehearsal process.