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Sergei Ostrenko Biography

Sergei Ostrenko is a Russian director, choreographer and teacher, the Head of IUGTE "Russian Theatre Department". He has been working in professional theatre over thirty years. His creative way has passed through the Cold War of the 1980s, collapse of the USSR in the 1990s, creative ordeals in the period of the interethnic tension in the Baltic and joining the New Europe. 

International theatre projects under the guidance of Ostrenko take place in different countries: Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Malta, and the United Kingdom. His creative work is the synthesis of the Russian Theatre School and the newest experiments in performing arts. Ostrenko has vast directing experience in different genres. He has dedicated many years to exploration of world theatre traditions working with performers from different countries and cultures. His approach in international theatre network is known as the effective method of growing cohesion and creation of live performances within limited rehearsal time. Students of Ostrenko, theatre workers from Russia, Europe, America, Asia and Australia, have been using his creative method in their own performance and teaching practice.

The professional career of Ostrenko in theatre started in 1976, after graduating from the Academy of Arts he begins working as a stage designer. Then Ostrenko continues his education as an actor and later as a director. 

Since 1988 Ostrenko has been teaching at different institutes of higher education - Latvian State Conservatoire (Riga, Latvia), Latvian Academy of Culture (Riga, Latvia), the Latvian branch of Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS), Rosebud School for the Arts (Rosebud, Canada), the University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada) and others.

Since 1994 Ostrenko has been running the scientific research project "The Laboratory of Movement and Dance“ which is unifying professional actors, directors, dancers, choreographers and psychologists in the practical research of improvisation and spontaneity in performing arts, methods of cohesion in creative group and processes of creation. The results of the Lab research merge into Ostrenko’s directing and teaching methodology, contributing to the formation of an ideal working environment, safe, adventurous and exciting, inductive to take creative risks, during the training and the rehearsals process.

Ostrenko dedicated ten years of his activity to working in the field of dance theatre. Ostrenko Lab in Riga exerted great influence on development of contemporary dance in the Baltic and laid the practical foundation for the development of professional Dance Movement Therapy in Latvia. 

Since the end of 1990s Ostrenko has been travelling a lot researching traditional and contemporary performing arts techniques - Chinese Opera, Mak Yong, Butoh, Alexander technique, Laban technique, Pilates, Suzuki, Contact and Structural Improvisation, Kinetic Environment, Viewpoints, method of Eugenio Barba, physical action of Stanislavsky, Meyerhold's Biomechanics and others.  

Since 2000 Ostrenko has been running the International Lab for actors and directors in the UK, Austria and Italy - Ostrenko Performing Arts Lab (OPAL), and starts working at the International University "Global Theatre Experience" (IUGTE). 

Since 2009 he has been leading the "Russian Theatre Department" of IUGTE.

Actors who worked with Ostrenko describe his training as "intensive, saturated and consecutive", the atmosphere during rehearsals as "conducive to exploration, demanding alert involvement and personal investment in the process", "he seemed to be encouraging a particular way of seeing, of feeling and of being...". As a director and teacher, Ostrenko is very demanding, and first of all to himself. He pays great attention to his physical training and further education. Since 1980s Ostrenko has been studying Tai Chi Chuan Chen style which for over thirty years has become the constant basis of his daily personal physical training. The unique principles of Tai Chi Chuan are also integrated in his teaching practice as the complementary movement training for dancers, choreographers and actors.

Ostrenko is keen on his profession and people, he has been travelling, living in different parts of the world, making creative expeditions, studying the culture and traditions of different people, meeting colleagues, actively participating in international theatre festivals, workshops and seminars.

At present the principal professional interest of Ostrenko is investigation of world theatre traditions, promotion of Russian Theatre Tradition in different countries and development of the strategic collaboration programmes with theatres of Russia and CIS.