The Uncle Vanya Project is a documentary film that allows us into the rehearsal process of Bagryana Popov’s site specific, immersive theatre production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. 

The theatre project was created and performed in five regional locations (Avoca, Stieglitz, Eganstown in Victoria, Bundanon NSW, The Cedars SA). For each location the play was adapted anew to the specific natural environment and intimate history of the place.

Tess Hutson’s beautiful observational documentary takes us into the preparation and dress rehearsal of the season in The Cedars, historic home of landscape artist Sir Hans Heysen, where Uncle Vanya was performed as part of the 2019 Adelaide Festival. 

The performance of Uncle Vanya is radical and unique: each performance takes two days. The audience experience Chekhov’s early environmentalist play, interwoven with guided walks and talks about the environmental issues of the area. They are invited as guests into the play and into the hosting home. The play comes to life in a profound, moving, transformative experience, opening to the environment.

This 80 minute film interweaves rehearsal scenes and interviews with the participating artists, as well as with Peramangk and Kaurna elder Ivan-Tiwu Copley, Peter Heysen, grandson of Sir Hans Heysen and curator Allan Campbell, as the team learns about place and prepares to bring Uncle Vanya to life.

Film credits:

The Uncle Vanya Project
Director: Tess Hutson
Cinematographers: Alex Serafini, Tess Hutson
Editor: Lillian Brown
Sound Designer: Livia Ruzic
Producers: Tess Hutson, Bagryana Popov
Written by Tess Hutson, Bagryana Popov

The theatre production credits:

Uncle Vanya at The Cedars
Presented by Adelaide Festival
Direction and Adaptation: Bagryana Popov
Performers: James Wardlaw, Natascha Flowers, Todd MacDonald, Olena Fedorova, John
Bolton, Liz Jones, Richard Bligh, Meredith Rogers
Sound design: Elissa Goodrich
Dramaturgy: Maryanne Lynch
Stage Manager: Hayley Fox
Produced by La Mama, Bagryana Popov

Location: La Mama HQ, rehearsal hub

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