Cherry Orchard

Classic Anton Chekhov


Dramaturg and Director
Set Design
Stage Manager

The Cherry Orchard (Russian: Вишнёвый сад) is the last play by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, written in 1903. It opened at the Moscow Art Theatre on 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Konstantin Stanislavski. Chekhov described the play as a comedy with some elements of farce, though Stanislavski treated it as a tragedy. Since its first production, directors have contended with its dual nature. It is often identified as one of the three or four outstanding plays by Chekhov, along with The Seagull, Three Sisters, and Uncle Vanya.

The play revolves around an aristocratic Russian landowner who returns to her family estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. Unresponsive to offers to save the estate, she allows its sale to the son of a former serf; the family leaves to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down. The story presents themes of cultural futility – both the futile attempts of the aristocracy to maintain its status and of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its new-found materialism. It dramatizes the socioeconomic forces in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the decline of the power of the aristocracy.              
                  However, this is not our story. Our story is about change, detachment and acceptance. The current production finds it natural to open all its sides, especially in the post-COVID world; there appear alongside economic crises and political and ecological ones, not to mention the war Russia started against Ukraine. It is deeply human to find balance, love and hope. For us, "Cherry Orchard" is a story about the world in which:  
Directors note:
"Putting into the play's characters' words, "Here it is - happiness. Here it comes. Closer and closer. I can hear his footsteps already. And if we don't see it, if we never know its face, then what does it matter? Others will! We'll plant a new orchard, lovelier still, and when you see it you'll understand. And your heart will be visited by joy, a quiet, deep, joy like evening sunlight, and you'll smile again." The dream is essential, as well as the decision. Cherry flourishes early in May; there is usually frost outside, but the blossoms are sensitive. We are opening ourselves to the future with an understanding of the importance of change but being sensitive and conscious about the present. This is the Way."  

Megan Kelly, Laura Potts, James Gallaghan, Josh Jones, Robbie Nicholls, Ash Bernstone, Maicie Lea, Georgia Giblin, Mia Harris, Bonnie Louise Hollis, Liv Jesse.


"Cherry Orchard" was the second show created using Zero Zone praxis. We also had training about Stansilavski's Active Analyses and Demidov's practice.


Russian Connection module, 9.1-11.2

Department of Media and Performance, Staffordshire University, UK

Staffordshire University Performance Centre, 9.-11. Feb. 2023