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A theatre and film director Anya Ostrovskaia

Anya was born in Moscow in a family
of Ukrainian Jews, due to her identity and positionality in Russia, Anya’s focus has always been on political art, exploring the history of the USSR, and nowadays Russian War crimes.

Anya is based in London and finds herself equally passionate in presenting narratives of freedom and justice to play her part in calling for solidarity and effecting change.

With a combined skill set in producing, directing, scriptwriting and filmmaking, she is interested in investigating truth and creating multidisciplinary work.


Cambridge School of Art and Creative Industries


Bachelor of Honours in Drama and Film studies


Royal Central School of Speech and Drama


MFA Advanced Theatre Practice


Ramapo College of New Jersey


Bachelor of Honours in Drama and Film studies

Photo by James Frederick Barrett


Film works

Documentary short animatic

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia 

Scriptwriter - Anya Ostrovskaia 

Illustrator - Velta Emilija Platupe 

Producer - Vilnius Kalnaellis

RIJA FILMS Studia, Riga

The short animatic tells a story of a young Lithuanian girl, named Marcelle Tamashauskine. When she was just 18 years old, she, her family, and all of their neighbors were cruelly arrested by the Soviet authorities and forced to leave their homes in the middle of the night. They were sent to rural Siberia, where every one of them had to induce hard labor in inhuman conditions. Marcelle spent 10 long years in Siberia, before returning to what was left of her home in Lithuania.

Work in progress

Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Following the occupation of Lithuania on the 15th of June 1940 by the Soviet Union, around 18,000 Lithuanian residents were deported over the course of several days, according to the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania. The state has  imprisoned and deported around 280,000 Lithuanian citizens over the occupation period. Soviet ethnic cleansing began in earnest in the mid-1930s with the removal of stigmatised ethnic groups. In the western borderlands, Poles, Germans, and Finns were the main victims; in the Far Eastern krai virtually all Koreans, numbering some 171,000 people, had been resettled in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan by October 1937. The deportations of 1943-44 were carried out with devastating efficiency. On a single night in February 1944 tens of thousands of NKVD troops assembled and deported at one hour’s notice the vast majority of the Chechen and Ingush populations, killing the most recalcitrant and those too ill to be moved.

Documentary film


Director - Anya Ostrovskaia 

Scripwriter - Anya Ostrovskaia 
Producer - Max Malcolm 
Natalia Makarova 

All the artists in the Veleso theatre productions work with horses and devise different varieties of shows engaging with their “animal” scene partners. For the entire performance season professional actors come to live in the “Veleso” with no access to wi-fi, almost no electricity, and no urban city life. Just nature, horses, and theatre.

Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Veleso theatre was founded by Evgeny Tkatchuk in rural St Petersburg, after a successful career in film and TV and being critically acclaimed by the Eastern European film industry, the actor has decided to leave his fame, move away and create a very unique theatre. Veleso in a pagan Russian tradition means - the god of horses. Evgeny Thatchuk created a theatre with horses, but not just any horses, 8 stallions, running free at the fields of the theatre land. 

Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Documentary film


Director - Anya Ostrovskaia 

DOP - Mariana C.P. Vaz.

Calais is a port city in the north of France, right across from Dover in the south of England. It is where the "Refugee Jungle" used to be until it was torn down by French authorities in 2016. However, there are still a constant of about 1,500 displaced people living there, trying to get to the UK to seek asylum.


Conversations From Calais is a project that aims to re-humanise those affected by the refugee crisis by using public space to share conversations volunteers have had with migrants met in Calais. It is a way of bearing witness for the thousands of displaced people stuck in Calais and trying to reach the UK, whose voices are so often silenced or ignored. This ever-growing collection of conversations focuses on capturing the diversity of experiences and avoids creating new stereotypes of refugees as villains, heroic figures or hopeless victims. By pasting these posters on walls all around the world, we are taking over public space, commemorating these voices and inspiring social change.

Each poster represents a conversation between a volunteer, acting as an “I”, and a refugee, acting as a “You”, the conversations could be about anything, the camp, and refugees’ lives before it, and now.

Conversation from Calais is a documentary project and collaboration between Anya Ostrovskaia and Mathilda Della Torre.

It follows a story of conversations held between volunteers and refugees in the camp Calais.  

Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia


Short fiction film


Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia

Scriptwriter - Alisa Khmelnitskaia 
DOP - Natalia Makarova 
Producer - Elisoveta Stishova 

Studio Nerpa Film in collaboration with Art Play today,

In this house, there were more than 44 000 people sentenced to death by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union. After the reconstruction, there will be a perfume shop.

The “Perfume Shop” was shot at Nikolskaya Street 23, at the “Soviet House of Terror” or so it was called in the 1930s when it played the role of execution courters for so many of its citizens. Despite the horrifying history of this house, today's owners decided to forget the origins of the house and after the reconstruction turn it into a perfume shop.


None of the memorial centers were allowed to approach the building and leave a sign of its history. For all the Moscow residents and its’ tourists, this bloody house is a perfume shop.


Documentary interviews


Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia

Interviewed by Anya Ostrovskaia

DOP - Roberta Kulikauskaite

Museum of Gulag Moscow

«My GULAG» is a project of GULAG History Museum, created to record video memories of people, whose fate was influenced by the mass repressions of the Soviet era.

The Gulag was a system of Soviet labour camps and accompanying detention and transit camps and prisons. From the 1918 to the mid-1950s it housed political prisoners and criminals of the Soviet Union. At its height, the Gulag imprisoned millions of innocent people, women, men and even children. convicted for crimes they never committed. Most of the prisoners would die during their imprisonment from hunger, weather, conditions, hard labour sicknesses caused by poor medical help, a lot of poisoners would be executed during their time in the camp. 

Apart from arresting Soviet citizens in the Soviet Russia, the state has committed multiple atrocities in other Soviet states, by ethnically cleansing different regions across the country and deporting the entire villages to the rural Siberia. 

I’ve started working with the Museum of Gulag, as a documentary director, because I wanted to record real stories of deported Lithuanians, to collect their memories, bring them to  Moscow, and have people remember what they forgot or never knew before. One particular story about Marcelle Tamashauskine inspired me to create a documentary animatic “Birthday Story”.

The memory of Gulags and other crimes against humanity committed by the USSR has been and continuous to be erased by the current Russian Government.


Short fiction film


Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia 

Scriptwriter - Anya Ostrovskaia

DOP - Cameron Brown

Editor - Mariana Vaz

Sound - Francesco Merlini-Fiore

Producer - Cambridge School of Art

Winner at TGIFF
“Director of the Future Award”

Jane is a lonely young girl studying Physics at Cambridge University. One night, she meets a boy who introduces himself as Isaac Newton. Did he come from the past just for one day, by a miracle or a joke? Jane and Isaac explore the city together, and begin to form a unique connection, discovering ordinary things anew. Jane likes Isaac but wants him to tell the truth about who he really is. He can’t tell her the truth because he is in fact, Isaac Newton.


Theatre works

Rooms Left behind

Vault festival

Director Anna Ostrovskaia


Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Director - Amy Sze, Anya Ostrovskaia

Producer - Amy Sze

Performers - Gun Suen, Tanya Kargaeva

Scenographers - Jacob Wu, Jeffrey Choy

Videographers - Tatiana KnyazevaChuk Edwin Yin Man
Main image designer - Ekaterina Vorobei

Migration Matter festival 2023
Vault Festival 2023
LIFT festival 2022 Shoreditch Town Hall 

Two rooms, one from Hong Kong and one from Moscow,
left by their owners fleeing for freedom.
4400 miles apart, different languages, distant cultures,
except that the walls eternize tear gas and tears. 

Rooms Left Behind brings you on an immersive journey into the intimate world of complex identities and a glimpse of political immigration. Working with a Ukrainian artist who has had to flee Russia, and Hong Kong artists who left their city, the theatrical installation explores the idea of what it means to be to leave your home and life behind.​ Step into the abandoned room to see, touch and feel where someone lived, loved and grieved. Wonder around the tables and chairs to unveil one’s traces of existence. Let the bookshelves and beds whisper to you stories of the displaced shadows.

Vault festival 2023 at the Cavern:
Winner of the Innovation Award

London Performance Studios 2023 

Vault festival



DSC_5844 copy 4.jpg

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia
Producer - Maria Golden, Amy Sze
Scenographer - Emilia Mendez 
Sound designer - Jack Clearwater, Victoria Vinnikova 
Lighting designer - Max Juan-Balch
Movement director - Mariana Camiloti
Stage manager - Miha Grigorean
Videographer - Emile Scott Burgoyne
Illustrator - Olga Yurasova
Composer- Fyodor Biryuchev
Performers - Artem Nemov, Janeks Babidorics, Lilit Lesser, Ivan Ivashkin, Anastasia Velikorodnaya 

Theater of Gulags is a theatrical installation exploring the dark history of USSR labour camps, and the full-scale theaters that were built inside of them. Theaters behind the fence were filled with artists from distinct theatrical and ethnic backgrounds – all prisoners. You will walk through the camp where in three confined spaces behind the hessian lines a story of a prisoner will unfold. A Roma queer man, a Ukrainian playwright, a Jewish puppet maker, all trapped inside the gulag walls.


They will tell you about their journeys - from their rooms to the black NKVD cars, to the train carriages with no windows, to barracks, and onto the stage. You might also hear them speak their truth through the characters of Shakespeare in this immersive journey through space. You will continue walking through the dream like maze, until you find yourself in a GULAG theater, where you will be confronted by the three artists in their last and endless rehearsal of Shakespeare’s King Lear for the single audience member, a commanding officer of the camp Theodor Eihmans, who will decide whether they will live or die.

The heart

Covent Garden, Cambridge

Director Anna Ostrovskaia


Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia

Text - Anya Ostrovskaia

Movement director - Ewa Limanowka

Production design - Valentin Rusinov 

Sound and Video designer - Mariana Vaz

Performers - Joe Facer, George Nettleton 

The Heart is a one act play which explores the relationship between two young men who were born at the same time, on the same day, in two different countries and got unexpectedly connected by the thread  of life.


An English man and a man from Russia talk on the telephone and have to find out the answer for the most important question: "What Is Life for?".

Tunnel Vision

Camden People Theatre

Director Anna Ostrovskaia


Director Anna Ostrovskaia
Director Anna Ostrovskaia

Director - Anya Ostrovskaia

Performers - "The Others":
Aditi Dalal 
Koni Tangara 
Heejin Kim 
Renee Chua
Patrick Bayele

You are about to enter a network of dreams and tragedies, that rumbles and roars at the tap of a travel card. Bias and prejudices operate in this station; please be mindful of your identities and privileges. The next train is approaching. Please stand back. Or get involved. It's up to you, really.

Doors are closing. Please mind the gap between you and "the others".

This is a Borderline service terminating at a new beginning, via encounters with the unheard, the unseen and the unknown.



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