Enikő Eszenyi studied at the Theatre and Film Academy, Budapest, and graduated as an actress in 1983. After graduation she joined the company of Vígszínház, Budapest, which is the biggest prosaic theatre in Hungary. On 1st of February 2009 she was appointed to be the Artistic Director of the Vígszínház. Her first production as theatre director was Büchner’s Leonce and Lena in the Budapest Chamber Theatre, which production received seven awards at the Hungarian Theatre Festival, 1991 (among which there was the award for the Best Theatre Director and also the awards for the Best Actress in a Leading Role and for the Best Actor in a Leading Role). This play was on for five years with a great success. Next year, she staged West Side Story, for which she got the Best Theatre Director award again. Her next direction, Kleist’s Kate of Heilbronn, was similarly successful, and was acknowledged both by the experts and the audience. It received the award for the Best Set, the Best Costume Design and also for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The actors who played in her following directions often received the same acknowledgements – which shows her actorcentric method and her talent to dig out the hidden genius from her actors. Her first Shakespeare production was As You Like It in Bratislava National Theatre in 1996, for which she was awarded with the Prize of the Best Director at the International Theatre Festival, Nitra. Five years later she was nominated for the same award for Antony and Cleopatra, which she directed in the Bratislava National Theatre. At the beginning of the 2000s she directed Much Ado about Nothing both in Prague National Theatre and in the Vígszínház. Furthermore, she staged the Comedy of Errors and the Twelfth Night or What You Will in Prague. She continued to direct abroad in 2003 in the Bez Zábrádli Theatre, Prague, where she staged the absurd play by István Örkény, The Tot Family. In 2005 she staged Lope de Vega’s The Dog in the Manger in Prague National Theatre. Thanks to her international director works she was invited to the Arena Stage in Washington where she staged Brecht’s A Man’s a Man in January 2004. During this period she continually directed in Budapest, in the Vígszínház and in the Pesti Színház, too. Therefore, she staged Grumberg’s The Workroom, Ostrovsky’s Even a Wise Man, Stumbles, Winterberg-Rukov-Hansen’s Festen, Beumarchais’s The Marriage of Figaro, Tracy Letts’s August Osage County. This last one was acknowledged by several experts and took part successfully in the Hungarian Theatre Festival. In 2009 she staged Shakespeare’s Othello, which was the first play in the era of her Artistic Directorship in the Vígszínház. Moreover, this play opens and represented the program of the whole year. Othello was performed in October 2010 at the International Festival of Theatres in Seoul, South Korea. Her latest Shakespeare production was Romeo and Juliet in the Vígszínház, which became the most popular and visited Shakespeare-performance of the last three seasons in Hungary. Last season she staged Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock, which had a clamorous success for its strong and imposing naturalism. Enikő Eszenyi is also perfect at directing musical plays. Therefore, she has recently directed two operettas: Ball at the Savoy in the Musical Theatre of Budapest, Contess Marica in Openair Thatre, Szeged and Fiddler on the Roof in Vígszínház. Her latest production – a new stage adaptation of They Shoot the Horses, Don’t They? – is a huge success among the audience and the critics acknowledged it, too. She is currently preparing to stage Hanoch Levin’s Suitcase Packers – first time in Hungary. In her actress career she has played numerous important roles from among the masterpieces of the drama literature. For instance, a few of the most important ones: Lady Ann, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Rosalinda, Violet, Cordelia and Fool (King Lear). Furthermore, some of her memorable roles are Joan (Shaw: Saint Joan), Nastya (Gorky: The Lower Depths), Blanche (Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire), Margaret (Tennesse Williams: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Alison (Osborne: Look Back in Anger), Nora (Ibsen: A Doll’s House) – for this last one she got the award for the Best Actress at the Hungarian Theatre Festival. Her latest roles are Shira (Hadar Galron: Mikveh), Annette (Yasmina Reza: The God of Carnage) and Shen Teh / Shui Ta (Brecht: The Good Person of Szechwan. She also played more than 25 roles in different films. She got prizes from both professionals and the audience. In addition, she has had five solo evenings which were great successes all over the country. Eszenyi’s work has been awarded by several Hungarian State awards. She got the Jászai Mari Prize and the Artist of Merit she got the Kossuth Prize in 2001, which is the most prestigious Hungarian state award. Furthermore, she received the Hungarian Republic’s Merit. In 2010 she was appointed to be the Ambassador of Hungarian Culture.
Theatre director, stage and film actress, artistic director