When a retired celebrity and his beautiful young wife return to their country estate, the humdrum lives of everyone around them are turned upside down for ever.

This brand-new production looks at Chekhov’s masterpiece afresh, clearing the lens of accumulated theatrical convention to rediscover the heart of the play – a tragicomic, poignant story of disillusionment and misplaced love, thwarted passion and enduring hope.


The Belgrade Theatre Company in co-production with Arcola Theatre present

Uncle Vanya
By Anton Chekhov
In a new version by Helena Kaut-Howson
and Jon Strickland

Directed by Helena Kaut-Howson
Sophie Jump
Lighting Design
Alex Wardle
Sound Design
Paul Bull
Original Music Boleslaw Rawski


Paul Bigley
Simon Gregor
Tricia Kelly
Marianne Oldham
Ellen Sheean
Jon Strickland
Geoffrey Whitehead
Hara Yannas


‘Young directors often try to make their mark by putting their own stamp on the classics, but the veteran European outsider Helena Kaut-Howson has done something else to make herself one of the unsung heroines of British theatre. She brings a quiet exactitude and sharply defined attitude that lends Chekhov’s familiar masterpiece a deeply moving texture of precisely articulated naturalism.’
The Stage

‘The production peels these people open and peers at their stifled souls.’
Time Out / Critics Choice

‘It has become voguish to argue that Chekhov needs refreshing – and that productions of his plays in this country are too reverent and steeped in nostalgia. In this new interpretation, Russian-speaking director Helena Kaut-Howson is kicking against a tradition she labels the “English approach”. She has translated Chekhov’s elegiac work in a faithful, intelligent style that aims, with the input of actor Jon Strickland, for what she calls “speakability”. Intimately staged, this version certainly brings out the moments of humour that punctuate the play’s scenes of melancholy.’
Evening Standard

‘So beautifully modulated it catches the rich ambivalences of Chekhov’s writing…It feels authentic, and the acting rings exquisitely true.’
The Telegraph

‘How to live one’s life – a guide to future generations’. No, this is not another nauseating self-help guide (I Googled just to make sure) but a line from Helena Kaut-Howson’s new version of Uncle Vanya. If you’ll forgive me a moment of plagiarism, Mr Chekhov, this production at the Arcola should be given the subheading: ‘How to do Chekhov – a guide to future directors’. This is a beautiful, haunting and thought-provoking production. Don’t miss it.’
Hackney Citizen

‘One of the fresher, funnier Vanyas of recent memory.’
The Guardian

‘A lucid and ultimately affecting production of a great play’
The Times

‘Acting of incredibly high standard…a true ensemble piece…The detail lavished on this production is evident as is the commitment from the actors. Uncle Vanya is a moving, thought provoking story that is as relevant today as when it was first produced in 1899’
The Public Reviews 


Produced in association with KP Productions