The Blue Blouse Magazine Project

The Blue Blouse (Синяя блуза) theatre group were an influential agitprop theatre collective in the Soviet Union, created by Boris Yuzhanin under the auspices of the Moscow Institute of Journalism. Though an important theatre movement in their time, they are now long forgotten. They thrived from 1923 until in 1927, when they were merged with the Workers Youth Theatre and effectively ceased to exist as an independent movement. At the time of their disappearance the Blue Blouse movement had 5,000 companies with more than 100,000 members scattered across the length and breadth of the Soviet Union.

Working with the London based theatre company The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor, in 2016 I created with writer Penelope Dimond a show to reflect the style and content the Blue Blouse companies might have used. The show has subsequently been performed at numerous venues in London, including the Royal Academy.

During research for the piece, I came across an original copy of the Blue Blouse magazine from 1927 in Russian (the magazine was regularly published to both inspire and inform the members of the Blue Blouse groups that existed across the USSR). Given the importance and now relative anonymity of the Blue Blouse movement in the context of the history of European theatre I decided it would be worthwhile sharing the content of the magazine with a wider, English speaking audience. And so a translation project was born as a collaboration between a group of people, with the aim of making available in a digital format a facsimile of a Blue Blouse magazine in an english translation.

The work of producing the English language version of issue No. 70 of the Blue Blouse magazine was undertaken by the following individuals:

Kim Ashton, Lucy Daniels, Dorothy Dickinson, Oleg Fedorov, Liath Gleeson, Siobhan McNamara, Gary Merry, Sarah Smyth, and Olga Taranova.