Since the mid-1980s Russell has worked as text adviser with Kenneth Branagh on stage and radio productions, and on all his Shakespeare films, and also on films by Oliver Parker (Othello, An Ideal Husband), John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and - in a very minor capacity - Wolf Man. (He advised on aspects of the hero’s performance as a Victorian actor in the role of Hamlet.) His diary of the filming of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet accompanies the published screenplay and a commentary by the double act of Branagh and Jackson accompanies the DVD release of the film. He has served on the boards of the Oxford Stage Company and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and as an honorary governor of the RSC. In 2006 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales, Bangor, for his contributions to the study of Shakespeare on Film.
His most recent theatre work has been with Michael Grandage, with whom he has worked as text adviser on productions at the Crucible theatre, Sheffield and the Donmar Warehouse in London. Productions at the Donmar have included Othello (2008), the 2009 Donmar West End season (Twelfth Night with Derek Jacobi and Hamlet with Jude Law, which also played on Broadway) and in 2010-11 King Lear, with Derek Jacobi. Current plans include Richard II in the autumn of 2011. In July 2013 he was text consultant for Macbeth, direcetd by Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford in the Manchester Interntional Festival, and in the summer and autumn of 2013 he worked with Michael Grandage on A Midsummer Night's Dream and Henry V at the Noel Coward theatre, London. The Macbeth production was revived and restaged for performances at the Park Avenue Armory in New York in May-June 2014.
From 1985 to 2004 was an editor of Theatre Notebook, the journal of the Society for Theatre Research, and he remains on its advisory board. He is on the editorial boards of Shakespeare Survey - for which he writes an annual review of publications on Shakespeare in performanceand - and the online journal Shakespeare.