Aleksei Granovskii (third from the left) and actors of GOSET (Mikhoels is on the far right). Moscow, early 1920s.
In 1918 Granovskii recently coming from Germany (where he had been a student and assistant of the famous German director Max Reinhardt) was appointed as director of the Yiddish Theatrical Studio in Petrograd. The studio began its work in January 1919, when the first students enrolled. The studio did not admit the professional actors of the old Yiddish theater. The students (Mikhoels was among them) were of different ages, they came from very different social backgrounds but they gathered in the studio during harsh Petrograd winter due to the common aim — to create a new Yiddish theater. Granovskii trained his actors ab ovo, utilizing the best resources of the avant-garde theater. He followed the gesamkunstwerk — theatrical conception that he brought from Germany and perfected into a "meticulously choreographed multimedia event" (B. Harshav).