Kirill Serebrennikov, the artistic director of Moscow's Gogol Centre — currently facing an ongoing embezzlement investigation — has been awarded the prestigious Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities theatre award, a source in the his theatre's press corps has told the TASS news agency.

A champion of LGBT rights and an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, Kirill Serebrennikov and his theatre have become well known for their progressive, avant-garde productions. His arrest in May this year over accusations of embezzling theatre funds sparked outrage in the theatrical world at home and abroad, with many decrying the investigation as politically motivated.

To add further complexity, in July of this year, the world premiere of Serebrennikov's production of Nureyev was cancelled by the Bolshoi Theatre at the last minute. While officials from the Bolshoi confirmed the cancellation was due to a lack of preparation, many believed the ballet's explicit treatment of the eponymous dancer's homosexuality lay at the root of the decision. 

The recent announcement that Serebrennikov will take home the award not only marks his international recognition as a talented contemporary theatre director, but also the global support he has behind him, as the investigation into the Gogol Centre continues to unfold. 

Initiated in 1990, the Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities is awarded to theatre stars at the peak of their fame, with previous winners including Harold Pinter and Peter Brook. Serebrennikov's award further reinforces the strong showing of Russian winners in this particular category, with Anatoly Vasiliev winning in 1990 and stage director Andrey Moguchiy taking home the award in 2010. 

Over the course of its history, the ceremony has predominantly taken place in the Sicilian town of Taormina, however Rome will be this year's host city, with the festival scheduled to take place from 12 — 17 December.

 

Source: TASS (in Russian)

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