2015 Maya Brin Residents Veniamin Smekhov & Galina Aksenova

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October 6, 2015

College Park, MD - The Maya Brin Residency Program is pleased to welcome the Russian actor and director Veniamin Smekhov and his wife, the film scholar Galina Aksenova, back to the University of Maryland. Smekhov is known for his work with the politically and artistically provocative Taganka Theater in Moscow. Aksenova has taught at Middlebury College’s renowned Russian Summer School program for the last 15 years, where she also served as Deputy Director from 2000-2009.

Veniamin Smekhov and Galina Aksenova began their relationship with the University of Maryland in 1992, spending a semester here teaching courses on Russian theater and staging An Extraordinary Miracle with students from the Russian Department. Smekhov notes that “the atmosphere and energy of the student-actors was so creative that it felt like it was 1964, and I was once again working in the Taganka Theater.” Their initial semester was such a success that they were invited back for another semester in residence, during which they staged The Naked King with students, hosted an international film series and taught courses.  They were here for a two week period during the fall of September 2001 and experienced September 11 with the University community.

As this year’s Maya Brin Residents, Smekhov and Aksenova will be on campus from October 19th through the 30th to meet with students and the public. Biographies of Smekhov and Aksenova as well as information about public events are available at ter.ps/smekhov.


The Maya Brin Residency brings leading Russian scholars, artists and cultural figures to campus for short-term stays to promote Russian culture.


The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign.


K. Lorraine Graham, Event & Communications Coordinator
School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University of Maryland
1211 Jimenez Hall
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: 301-405-6127
Fax: 301-314-9752
Email: klgraham@umd.edu