It left me wanting more...”
– The New York Times
for chekhovOS, 2021
Director, Live & Virtual Theater
Founder, Igor Golyak Acting Studio
Igor Golyak is the founder and producing artistic director of Arlekin Players Theatre & Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab in Boston. A global leader in the virtual theater movement, he is currently directing The Orchard Off-Broadway, a hybrid production (both live and virtual), featuring Jessica Hecht and Mikhail Baryshnikov. During the pandemic he conceived and directed WITNESS, chekhovOS /an experimental game/ and State vs. Natasha Banina, each of which became international virtual theater sensations, receiving multiple New York Times Critic’s Picks and garnering a 2022 Special Citation from the Boston Critic's Association for "pushing the boundaries of digital space to create a new genre of theater". Golyak's work has received numerous Elliot Norton Awards for The Seagull, The Stone, and Dead Man’s Diary, including an award for Best Director. His work also received This Week In New York Pandemic Awards (WITNESS and chekhovOS) and Broadway World’s Best Director of a Streamed Production Award (chekhovOS). He directed The Merchant of Venice for Actors’ Shakespeare Project, productions at Northeastern University and Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and has taught at Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Harvard University, Lesley College, Wellesley College, New England Theater Conference, the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts/Middlesex University, Moscow Specialized Institute for the Arts, and the ARBOS Theatre Festival.
Golyak is from Ukraine, and with his team at Arlekin, has led the #Artists4Ukraine initiative, engaging artists to share messages of hope, peace and solidarity, and raising funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Recent speaking engagements have included panels at Ars Electronica Festival, Howlround, The Transmedia Meta Lab/Mahindra Center at Harvard University, and HB Studio New York. His theater, Arlekin Players, a company of immigrants, has been invited to perform on famous stages and at world-renowned festivals all over the globe, including in Ukraine, Yerevan, Armenia, New York City, Chicago, Lviv, Monaco, Canada and the UK, as well as the Moscow Art Theatre. He is the master teacher at Igor Golyak Acting Studio, which offers acting classes, workshops, and training. Golyak received a master’s degree in directing from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in 2004, as well as an acting degree from Moscow’s Schukin Theatre Institute (Vakhtangov Theater).