Russian Contemporary Theatre: Beyond the Capital
Edmita Bulota Lecture Series on Soviet and Post-Soviet Theatrical Arts
This program, named in honor of former Kennan Institute staff member Edmita Bulota, focused on key developments in the current scene of Russian theatre: new theatrical impulses in the Russian provinces, new writing and writers, theatre makers working outside of traditional theatrical forms with non-traditional audiences, and the recent manifestations of a new sets of relationships among art, artists and politics. Experts from the United States and Russia explored the impact of a rich decade of Russian productions seen in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on artists working outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Philip Arnoult, founder and director of the Center for International Theatre Development in Baltimore, MD and lecturer at Towson University, began with a sweeping survey of the creative talents currently active in the Russian theatrical world and the varying regional support provided by governments and private actors. Mr. Arnoult’s Center for International Theatre Development has been instrumental in bringing experts to both countries in order to facilitate cultural exchanges and awareness of the range of talent across Russia, and, more broadly, Eastern Europe. He highlighted small theater companies, discussing the various tactics that these companies have deployed to remain active in regional Russia.
Yurii Urnov, Fulbright Scholar and visiting director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, D.C. and Towson University, Baltimore, continued with a discussion of writers and other figures active in the theatre world.
Maria Kroupnik, an independent producer from Moscow, continued with a discussion of how theater outreach has shaped both the community and the approach of Russian theater, with an emphasis on projects that engage with youth groups and disenfranchised members of society.
Barbara Lanciers, director of the Trust for Mutual Understanding, emphasized the need for these cultural exchanges and highlighted Russian theatrical productions and troupes that have been able to perform in the United States.
Finally, Urnov spoke to the increasing pressures on members of the theatrical world in the new political climate, reaching back to what Urnov termed “Putin III,” or the September 24, 2011 announcement of Vladimir Putin’s intent to seek a third term as President. Panelists discussed the resulting changes in Russia’s cultural and political climate and how artist are responding to political pressures.
A selection of photos from the event can be found at the Wilson Center's SmugMug account.
founder & director, The Center for International Theatre Development, Baltimore, MD
independent producer, Moscow