Lyudmila Petrovna Polyakova, People's Artist of Russia, laureate of the State Prize of Russia, was born on January 28, 1939. In 1964 she graduated from Mikhail Shchepkin Higher Theatre School (course of V.I. Korshunov) and was invited to join the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya Street. A year later, Lyudmila Polyakova transferred to the Theatre named after Konstantin Stanislavski, where she worked for 17 years (1965-1982). During these years Lyudmila Petrovna established herself as one of leading artists of the «golden» era of the famous theatre collective.
Among her most significant roles were: Martha Kushakova («The Encyclopedists» by Leonid Zorin), Alexandra («Seraphim, or Three Chapters from the Life of Kramolnikov» by Leonid Zorin), the Rose («The Little Prince» by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), Lizzie («The Rainmaker» by N. Richard Nash), Zoya («Impromptu-fantasy» by Viktoriya Tokareva), Natalia («The First Version of Vassa Zheleznova» by Maxim Gorky) and others. Lyudmila Petrovna has worked with such outstanding directors as Leonid Varpakhovsky, Boris Lvov-Anokhin, Anatoly Vasiliev, Alexander Tovstonogov. Already an actress of the Taganka Theatre (1982-87), and then the School of Dramatic Art (1987-90), Lyudmila Polyakova continued to work with Anatoly Vasiliev, having played the role of Valyusha in the play «Serso» by Viktor Slavkin, which became one of her major accomplishments.
In 1990 Lyudmila Petrovna Polyakova was invited to join the Maly State Academic Theatre of Russia and instantly became one of its leading actresses. Lyudmila Polyakova maintains the unity and continuity in the roles she’s portraying thus providing an organic wholeness in the lifelike images she creates. She builds up characters that are close and understandable to the viewer but, at the same time, she never contradicts the author's intentions.
Lyudmila Petrovna is a truly Russian actress – with a unique artistic temperament and constitutional makeup, she is able to convey the subtle nuances of the national character. This is one of the reasons, why the actress has been excelling in the Ostrovsky repertoire for more than two decades. Polyakova has been awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for her portrayal of Felicata in «Truth is Good, but Happiness is Better».
Polyakova has the full range of talents. Her performances are compelling, and masterful, including the special nuances that she brings to almost every role. Lyudmila Petrovna is an incredibly versatile and an extremely “real” actress. The characters built up by Polyakova differ in their psychological depth and masterful artistic finish. Polyakova is equally good at portraying a crafty inventor Felicata and Maria Nagaya a former Russian tsaritsa, who had lost her son in a heartbreaking tragic accident and who is possessed by the thirst for revenge. In «The Children of the Sun» her Antonovna has very few replicas, but Polyakova’s character has an enormous semantic load, her almost silent presence helps to piece together the fragments of the play. Fussy, dressed in all white, annoying other characters with an inappropriate, as they think, care, Antonovna is like a guardian angel trying to save the world collapsing in front of the viewer.
Lyudmila Polyakova acted in more than 70 films and television series. She is known for her movie roles: «Party Committee Secretary», «Ascension», «Agony», «Farewell to Matyora», «Head of the Orphanage», « Hurricane’s Mother», «Meet Me in the Underground», «Boomer», «High Security Vacation» and many others. And among her TV roles are: «Mikhailo Lomonosov», «The Pretenders», «Behind the Scenes», «The Case of Kukotsky», «Yesenin», «Doctor Zhivago», «Heavy Sand», etc.
Roles in the Maly Theatre:
1990 - Nastasya Ivanovna, «The Living Corpse» by Leo Tolstoy, directed by Vitaliy Solomin
1990 - Mavra Denisovna, «The Wild Girl» by Alexander Ostrovsky and Nikolay Solovyov, directed by Vitaliy Solomin
1991 - Evdokia Fedorovna, «Infanticide» by Friedrich Gorenstein, directed by Vladimir Beylis
1992 - Prostakov, «The Minor» by Denis Fonvizin, directed by Vitaliy Ivanov
1993 - Moskaleva, «Uncle's Dream» by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, directed by Alexander Chetverkin
1993 - Maria Feodorovna Nagaya, «Tsar Boris» by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, directed by Vladimir Beylis
1994 - Murzavetskaya, «Wolves and Sheep» by Alexander Ostrovsky, directed by Vitaliy Ivanov
1996 - Agrafena Kondratyevna, «It's a Family Affair-We'll Settle It Ourselves», by Alexander Ostrovsky, directed by Alexander Chetverkin
2000 - Cheboksarova, «Money to Burn» by Alexander Ostrovsky, directed by Vitaliy Ivanov
2001 - Princess Tugoukhovskaya, «Woe from Wit» by Alexander Griboedov, directed by Sergey Zhenovach
2001 - Atueva, «Krechinsky's Wedding» by Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin, directed by Vitaliy Solomin and Alexander Chetverkin
2002 - Felicata, «Truth is Good, but Happiness is Better» by Alexander Ostrovsky, directed by Sergey Zhenovach
2004 - Glafira Firsovna, «The Last Sacrifice» by Alexander Ostrovsky, directed by Vladimir Dragunov
2006 - Anna Andreevna, «The Government Inspector» by Nikolay Gogol, directed by Yuri Solomin and Vasiliy Fyodorov
2008 - Khlyostova, «Woe from Wit» by Alexander Griboedov, directed by Sergey Zhenovach
2008 - Antonovna, the nanny, «The Children of the Sun» by Maxim Gorky, directed by Adolf Shapiro
2012 - Arina Ivanovna, «Vanyushin’s Children» by Sergei Naidenov, directed by Vitaliy Ivanov
2017 - Arina Panteleymonovna, «Marriage» by Nikolai Gogol, directed by Yuri Solomin
2019 - Lucy Cooper, «The Rest Is Silence» by Viña Delmar, directed by Yuri Solomin