In addition to being a theatre director, Vladimir Mirzoev is a novelist, poet, critic, and artist. Born in Moscow in 1957, he enrolled at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute in 1975, and in 1981 graduated from the Faculty of Directing at the Lunacharsky State Institute for Theatrical Arts in Moscow, where he studied with Mark Mestechkin, a disciple of his teachers Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Meyerhold. Before he emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in May 1989, Mirzoev was known in Russian theatre as an iconoclast and a leading figure of the avant garde. His productions of Voltaire, Pushkin, Gogol, Büchner, Strindberg, Claudel, Weiss, and Howard Barker became renowned for the plasticity of the actors' movement and the use of metaphor to convey meaning, and Russian critics hailed his extraordinary ability to sculpt a unique theatrical language, which blended the ironic and the grotesque. Rita Much interviewed Mirzoev in the autumn of 1991, between the abortive coup and the breakup of the Soviet Union.