Award-Winning Russian Director on Campus to Work, Teach

SIOUX FALLS - Augustana College Theatre is excited to announce the arrival of two guest artists from St. Petersburg, Russia – Natalia Lapina and Andrey Khvostov.

Lapina (shown at right) is on campus to direct the premiere of Ivan Fuller’s new play Eating into the Fabric, which is about the 900-day blockade of Leningrad during World War II. This event is still of supreme importance to the people of St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) and Lapina is a native of St. Petersburg. Khvostov is a film student from St. Petersburg and is working as Lapina’s translator and assistant during her residency.

Lapina is an award-winning director who currently sits on the faculty of the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy. In addition, she has recently been named artistic director for the National Russian Theatre of Estonia in Tallin. This is her first visit to America.

Bringing a Russian director to Augustana is not only fitting for the subject of Eating into the Fabric, but also gives theatre students and audiences the unique opportunity to experience one of the world’s greatest theatre traditions. Lapina will bring Augustana students a mind-expanding journey into the actor’s process that they can only get from someone with a rich background in one of the most rigorous actor-training programs in the world. Russian theatre is known for its adventurous risk-taking, its passionate emotions, and for digging deeply into the heart of the characters.

Lapina is excited to work on this new play, saying that it is very important to her that the blockade not be forgotten. In America, few people have even heard of this tragic event in which 1.5 million people died of cold, starvation and bombings.

Ivan Fuller, associate professor of theatre at Augustana and author of the play, describes his feelings about his first meeting with Lapina: “To hear ‘great play,’ ‘must not be forgotten,’ and ‘we will find a way’ from someone who is an established, demanding and exceptional artist moved me in ways approaching the birth of my children – for this really was the nod of ‘yes, your child will be taken into life’s journey under my attentive and committed guard.’ Looking into her serious and determined eyes, I believed and trusted her immediately. Her last words were, ‘I believe we will do this and it will be great.’”

The production will run February 26 – 28 and March 5 – 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Edith Mortenson Center. On February 26 at 5:45 p.m., there will be a Premiere reception in the Atrium of Augustana’s Visual Arts Center. Tickets for the reception and performance are $25.

Regular ticket prices are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors/students. All tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the Augustana Box Office at 605.274.5320.

Bruce Conley
Director News Information
Phone: 605.274.5526
Fax: 605.274.4903