Lyubov Zaitceva

Defeating provinciality with art

Art director and director of the Youth Studio-Theatre «Dominanta». Concept author of the festival «Secrets of the Krestovaya Mountain», member of the Union of Theatre Workers of the Russian Federation, laureate of the Perm region award in culture and arts, laureate of the «Ambassador of the Perm Region» award.


  • When I was young, I wanted to become both actress and director, and also someone else, yet I didn't know how to call this profession. When I became theatre educator, I got it: there it was.
  • Province is in your head. If man limits his life to work and shop in front of the house, it become unimportant how close to the Red Square he lives, with such a routine basis and goals.
  • Acting is tough, because you are always open to people, naked inside, you give away your energy, share it with the audience.
  • I fell for Gubakha, it seems, even more than the natives.

My story

I was born in Sverdlovsk region, and then left for Tomsk with my husband. I loved the city, we wanted to stay there. But my husband was sent to Gubakha for work, to build disposal facilities at the coking plant. We thought, we would spend three years here and leave but it happened otherwise. Our three children were born here, my theatre, my husband also has his job.

Dominanta Theatre started from a children studio Dialogue. It opened in 1986, and after 14 years of work, we realized this format is not enough for us. We wanted to stage real shows, serious ones, besides theatre pedagogics. Children theatre is always a part of Dominanta, almost all actors teach kids for free, or for some little payment. We also involve older kids into our «grown-up» projects. We currently have around one hundred students, so we don't take new applications. After all, it is not about mass production, we first of all teach people to hire them later. Only particularly prepared people can work in Dominanta Theatre. Like a team of the ship, we need to do everything on our own, together. And not to be above any work. If there are set parts to carry — we carry, if we need to paint — we paint, need to rehearse — we rehearse. Everyone here is a universal master, if there is need in it, our administrative manager can act, too.

There are ten actors in the company but also a team around it that works together for many years. Those are people of the same artistic and stage belief. Perm, Yekaterinburg, Moscow — students and friends come from everywhere to take part in projects in Gubakha.

In summer, theatres either go on tour, or take a pause. We went looking for a way to fulfill the need in cultural life in this period, too. That's how landscape festival «Secrets of Krestovaya Mountain» was born. The same as Moscow citizens often disregard the Red Square; citizens of Gubakha live there for many years but first step a foot on the Krestovaya Mountain due to our projects. Nature of Gubakha and beyond is so versatile, each corner whispers its own stories. Landscape empowers the show, every time it looks different. I see how actors' craft grows after these performances. They need to «overact» the nature, so that audience would watch the show, and not only look around admiring the beauty.

There are not too many theatre lovers among the festival audience. Mostly people come to the Krestovaya Mountain out of curiousity, wishing to spend time with their families in an unusual way. However, some of them then show up at the theatre, at our performances. Gubakha is a small city, so the core of the audience is more or less permanent. But people come from Kizel, Alexandrovsk, Berezniki, Solikamsk, Gornozavodsk, and Gremyachinnsk. We can't play 50-60 same shows a season, we have to surprise people with premieres, to be experimenters, innovators. You need to allure audience first, and then you can talk to it, educate it.

I like making chamber shows more than «gathering the crowd» — there is a higher chance to get through, see every eye, look inside and touch something. When we play for teenagers, we do it in a small auditorium where they sit close to the actors, and they become so involved that forget their mobile phones and talking.

Couple of years ago, it worried me that young people left the city, but now I see, they also arrive, there is new blood. That's how Gubakha avoids stagnation, people living here are active and beautiful. Actually, many bigger cities are more provincial than Gubakha. You can sit in your kitchen, drink your tea, and wait for something to happen. But nothing will happen until you get up and start doing things yourself. You have to fight provinciality, my way to do it is through art, and I think it is a good way.