Russian theatre-lovers pay for visionary director’s funeral after city hall snub

Russian theatre-lovers pay for visionary director's funeral after city hall snub
Image: Teatr.doc/Facebook

4 April 2018

A crowdfunding campaign has raised almost $13,000 (740,000 rubles) for the funeral of Russia’s leading contemporary theatre director after officials claimed he didn’t have the cultural credentials to claim state funds.

Mikhail Ugarov, head of independent theatre group Teatr.doc and a pioneer of contemporary Russian theatre, died on Sunday at the age of 62.

Russia’s cultural elite called for Ugarov to be laid to rest alongside Russia’s other cultural greats at the capital’s prestigious Troekurovskiy Cemetery, but officials refused to offset the cost, stressing that the director “hadn’t won any state-backed awards”.

Teatr.doc took to Facebook to ask fans for contributions, raising the money in less than 24 hours. “We know that Mikhail [Ugarov] hasn’t been honoured by the state, and we’re fine with that,” the group wrote in a post. “But he has merit both in the eyes of the country and across the world of contemporary theatre.”

Ugarov funeral is set to be held on 5 April. He will then be interrned in Troekurovskiy Cemetery, alongside murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Russian director Elem Klimov, and director and screenwriter Yuli Raizman.