Yasen Peyankov who trained at Bulgaria’s elite theater school, left Sofia immediately after the Berlin Wall came down and went to Chicago to act, direct and form his own theatre group. In 2002 he became an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and has acted, directed and translated plays for them ever since. His translation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull performed in the round was his most recent production for the 2021 – 2022 season. He’s also a professor of drama at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Measured, wry, thoughtful and modest, Yasen has retained his cultural identity and also become a very American artist.





Yasen’s Influences:-

Prof. Krikor Azaryan – my professor and mentor at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in Bulgaria, extraordinary man and theater director. I am who I am as an artist because of him

John Malkovich – the most enigmatic actor/director I have ever worked with 

Daniel Day Lewis – hands down the best actor of all times, complete chameleon, fiercely intelligent, he simply disappears in the roles

Charlie Chaplin – the best film artist ever, brilliant in everything – writing, acting, directing, composing 

Anton Chekhov – the best playwright of all times, his plays are an ocean, every time I start swimming in them, I never see the horizon

Books: For Whom the Bell Tolls and Farewell to the Arms – Earnest Hemingway 

Music: The Beatles, Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here is sublime and always makes me cry), Queen (Freddie Mercury is a genius!)

Art: Love the impressionists: Van Gogh, Gaugin. Also love Chagall. His story telling and theatricality is something that inspires me as a director.

Productions: The productions of the Maly Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia under the direction of Lev Dodin

Each week in Creative Confidential Jude Kampfner chats to an independent professional performance or visual artist about how they survive and thrive. They share details of moving between projects, becoming more entrepreneurial, finding the best opportunities and developing a signature image and style. Her guests range from lyricists to novelists, videographers to sound designers.

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