Russian theatre critic and translator. Irina Zharovtseva graduated from the Theatre History and Theory department of the Moscow State Theatre Institute (GITIS, today, Rossiyskiy universitet teatral`nogo iskusstva Russian University of Theatre Arts) where she had studied puppetry. In 1956, she was invited to join the staff of the Museum of what would become the Gosudarstvenny akademichesky tsentralny teatr kukol imeni S.V. Obraztsova (Sergei Obraztsov State Academic Central Puppet Theatre), at that time headed by Andrei Fedotov (1900-1963).

In 1958, the national UNIMA Centre of the USSR was established. Irina Zharovtseva joined it and, from 1972 to 2000, she was the centre’s general secretary. UNIMA became the cause in Zharovtseva’s life. Through her leadership, the USSR UNIMA Centre and later Russian UNIMA Centre played their role in the world of puppetry. It was she who conceived, initiated and organized virtually all of her country’s international activities in the field, including festivals, conferences, tours and exhibition exchanges. She translated numerous plays and professional literature from French and Polish into Russian (in particular, A History of European Puppetry by Henryk Jurkowski).

In 1976, Irina Zharovtseva was elected a member of the UNIMA Presidium (which later became its Executive Committee) and was also active in the organization’s Training and Education Commission. The 18th UNIMA Congress in Magdeburg (2000) named her a UNIMA International Member of Honour.

(See Russia.)


  • Goldovsky, Boris. Kukly Entsiklopediya [Puppets. Encyclopedia]. Moscow: Vremya, 2004, p. 160.