Government authorities have banned Russian independent theatre company Teatr.doc’s production of the play ‘Pushkin and Money’, scedduled to be part of a theatre festival on 12 June 2016 at the Moscow Hermitage Garden, reported The Calvert Journal on 13 June 2016.
In a Deutsche Welle interview with the play’s director Anastasia Patlay, published on 13 June 2016, Patlay said that the organisers of the festival invited the theatre to perform the play three weeks in advance, but that two days before the performance they were informed by the organisers that the Ministry of Culture ordered the play to be removed from the schedule for “censorship”.
Patlay notes that Teatr.doc was scheduled to hold two events, the play and a master class on storytelling, and both were cancelled.
“Both events were crossed off from the programme. So I think that the ban was a reaction to the name of the theatre, and not on the content of the play. We have become a red flag for officials,” she said.
Patlay said that most of the theatre’s current repertoire is “apolitical” and that the Pushkin play features hardly any politics, but is about a poet who himself was censored by the state.
Russia’s Ministry of Culture has been tightening its grip on theatres such as Teatr.doc since 2014, banning plays and operas and initiating inquiries into theatres and their repertoire. In late 2014, Teatr.doc was evicted from its building by Moscow authorities who terminated their lease with no warning, allegedly in reaction to their staging of anti-Putin political content. They were since forced to move again into a third location in June 2015, the same month the ministry ordered an inquiry into six theatres and their repertoires.
Read more on Russia’s targeting of theatres on pages 30-32 of Freemuse’s 2016 annual report:
Art Under Threat
Photo from a performance of ‘Pushkin and Money’ from Teatr.doc’s Facebook page
» The Calvert Journal – 13 June 2016:
Independent Russian theatre Teatr.doc play faces censorship
» Deutsche Welle – 12 June 2016:
Pushkin and Money cancelled in Moscow
» Novye Izvestiya – 10 June 2016:
Department of Culture of Moscow banned ‘Pushkin and Money’ play
» Artsfreedom.org – 26 January 2016:
Russia: Theatre director says culture ministry vets new plays
» Artsfreedom.org – 2 April 2015:
Russia: Theatre director fired for staging opera that offended church
» Artsfreedom.org – 23 March 2015:
Russia: Culture Ministry to probe ‘blasphemous’ Novosibirsk opera
» Artsfreedom.org – 10 March 2015:
Russia: Creators of ‘offensive’ Wagner opera acquitted
» Artsfreedom.org – 3 November 2014:
Russia: Moscow fringe theatre faces ‘censorship’ with eviction
» Artsfreedom.org – 31 October 2014:
Russia: Moscow theatre company faces eviction by the city