The XVI Chekhov International Theatre Festival will be held in Moscow fr om May to October 2023. The programme includes the following sections: «World Series», «Street Programme», «Moscow Programme», «Educational Programme» and «Regional Programme». Besides, an open-air photo exhibition will be devoted to the 30th anniversary of the Chekhov Festival.
The XVI Chekhov International Theatre Festival will be dedicated to the memory of Valery Ivanovich Shadrin, the founder and Director General of the Chekhov Festival (1992-2022).
Valery Shadrin’s life and career are sufficient proof of the fact that, under any circumstances and despite all the difficulties, one can devotedly promote the cause which one loves, the cause which is so vital for human beings, and for the culture of our country, as well as the entire world. During the thirty years of its existence, the Chekhov Festival has presented in Moscow and other Russian cities more than 600 productions from 54 countries. Valery Shadrin was a great theatre missionary, leaving to us a unique legacy which looks forward to the future.
As originally planned, the World Series programme of the XVI Chekhov Festival comprises 15 productions in various genres, from 13 countries — Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of South Africa, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The Festival will be launched on 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 May on the stage of Mossovet Theatre with Germán Cornejo’s «Wild Tango». This dancing show will thrill the viewers’ imagination with its Argentinian colours, artistic novelties, original costumes, the charisma of the performers, and acrobatics which defy gravitation.
On 25, 26 and 27 May the Festival will present the world premiere of «Mumu», based on Ivan Turgenev’s short story of the same name. This is a joint production of the Taganka Theatre (Moscow) and the Chekhov International Theatre Festival. This version is an attempt to perceive the well-known story through Gerasim’s eyes. The world of the mute ones is revealed to us, which is deprived of words, but filled with the polyphony of sounds and emotions, with rhythm and movement, with light and love. The project is brought to you by the international team: the director Narine Grigorian (Armenia), the designer Victoria Riedo-Oganesian (Armenia), the choreographer Yury Kostanian (Armenia), and the composer Artyom Kim (Uzbekistan). The actors come from the Taganka Theatre, and Irina Apeksimova is cast in the role of the Landlady.
On 5 and 6 June, at the V. Mayakovsky Theatre (Sretenka Stage), another signal co-production will be presented. «The Stone of Madness» is a joint project of the Republican Theatre of Belorussian Drama, the International Confederation of Theatre Unions, and the Regional Public Foundation for Support of the Chekhov International Theatre Festival. «The Stone of Folly» by the Belorussian playwright Konstantin Steshik is a modern version of a medieval legend: a quack who pretends to be a doctor extracts from the head of a credulous patient a “stone” which allegedly threatens his life. This production is about the search for the meaning of life, about our dreams and our ruined illusions whenever these are clashing with reality. In this case, theatre teams from Belarus and Russia are joining forces.
The theme of theatre art in post-Soviet countries is carried on by companies from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. They took part in the IV Youth Theatre Forum of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Baltics and Georgia (2021, Tashkent, Uzbekistan). This event is being held every three years by the International Confederation of Theatre Unions under the aegis and with support of the Inter-State Foundation for Humanitarian Co-Operation of Member States of the CIS.
On 30 May, at the Mossovet Theatre, the exciting musical «Kulager» directed by Farkhad Moldagali will be brought to you by the G. Musrepov State Academic Youth Theatre (Kazakhstan), and the ethno-modern-jazz band Steppe Sons. This show is based on the poem by Ilyas Dzhansugurov, which is devoted to the 19th-century poet and singer Akhan Sere and his steed Kulager. The genre is soundrama.
On 8 June, at the School of Dramatic Art Theatre (Stage on Novoslobodskaya St., Meyerhold Auditorium), our viewers can enjoy «Gardenia», based on the play by the contemporary Polish writer Elżbieta Chowaniec, and directed by Gor Markarian. This production is presented by the K.S. Stanislavsky State Russian Drama Theatre of Yerevan (Armenia). It is a moving and dramatic story of four women of different ages whose destinies are closely entwined.
On 3 October, at the А.А. Yablochkina Central House of Actors, the stage version of Chinghiz Aitmatov’s famous story «The Mother’s Fie», which the writer devoted to his parents, will be shown by the director Nigora Gaibnazarova and actors of the Syr-Darya Regional Theatre of Musical Comedy (Uzbekistan). This work deals with the issues of human destiny, grief and happiness, courage and fortune.
On 7 October, at the А.А. Yablochkina Central House of Actors, «Airplane Letters», a story about charity intended for both children and adults will be presented by our guests from Kyrgyzstan. Director Aynura Kachkynbek Kyzy has created a theatre production about childhood, death, life and dreams, based on the works by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, «Oscar et la Dame rose» and «Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran». This moving narrative about a little boy who is aware of his impending death is played out by actors and puppets.
On 14, 15, 16 and 17 June, at the Mossovet Theatre, the Indian director Rajat Kapoor will be making his Chekhov Festival debut. He is known for his unique ability to make comedies based on sombre or even tragic subjects. His «Macbeth, what is done, is done», after William Shakespeare’s play, is staged in the genre of clownery: the actors interpret the great tragedy as mimes with whitened faces, but their laughter is mixed with tears.
On 15, 16, 17 and 18 June, at the V. Mayakovsky Theatre (Sretenka Stage), there comes a real gift from Vietnam, thanks to the Thăng Long Theatre, the most famous puppet show on water. Water puppet theatre has existed in that country for over a thousand years, and is regarded as a masterpiece of Vietnamese and world culture. For all the historical tribulations, this phenomenon managed to survive to this day virtually intact. Live music on ancient instruments and more than 80 puppets are brought together in this fascinating show for the whole family. A special water reservoir is transported from Vietnam, with a 40-ton capacity.
On 20, 21 and 22 June, at the School of Dramatic Art Theatre (Stage on Novoslobodskaya St., Meyerhold Auditorium), the Chileans are making their Moscow debut with «Malen». From the mapuche language malen translates as “girl”. It is a dialogue of generations wherein young girls inherit the experience of their ancestors from women who are more advanced in years. The choreographer Ricardo Curaqueo Curiche makes use of contemporary dance idiom to tell us about women as inspirers of every activity and creation. This production presents 16 female dancers aged between 10 and 70. It won the award of the Chilean Circle of Art Critics as the best work of Chilean dance.
On 19, 20 and 21 September, at the Mossovet Theatre, the Vuyani Dance Company from South Africa makes its first appearance at the Chekhov Festival. It will present an unusual version of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, wherein the choreographer Gregory Vuyani Maqoma has discerned the ritual funeral marches of South African natives. Gregory Vuyani Maqoma is the leading expert on contemporary dance in South Africa, and his company has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
On 20, 21, 22 and 23 September, at Helikon Opera, the dancer and director Zhao Liang will present his «The Tea Spell».In China he is renowned not only as one of the pioneers of contemporary dance, but also as a choreographer who explores the relationship between Heaven, Earth and mankind. In the West he is well-known too, and nicknamed “shepherd from the East”. Zhao Liang skilfully combines Western contemporary dance with Oriental philosophy, psychology and aesthetics. His works are akin to a philosophical journey wh ere dance is just a means to an end.
On 26, 27 and 28 September, at the Zaryadye Hall, make sure to see «Carmina Burana», the most grand-scale event of our programme. The participants include the Cuban Theatre of Contemporary Ballet as well as Russian performers: the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic, the Minin Choir, the Spring Children Choir, and Russian soloists Yaroslav Abaimov, Maria Buynosova and Pavel Yankovsky. In total, this production brings together more than 200 performers, dancers and musicians.
On 1, 2 and 3 October, at the School of Dramatic Art Theatre (Stage on Novoslobodskaya St., Meyerhold Auditorium), our programme carries on with «To Moscow! Palimpsest», based on Anton Chekhov’s play «Three Sisters». «We are in love with Chekhov — he is great and eternal, just like the artistic world that he has created», is the statement by the performers of Setor de Áreas Isoladas company from Brazil.
On 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 October, at the Mossovet Theatre, is the great finale of our programme. It is a powerful music and dance show called «Malevo Extreme» by the Argentinian Malevo Company. This is a virtuoso performance of malambo, a typical male folk dance of the gauchos, which requires an ideal sense of rhythm. Making use of folk traditions, these dancers blend the classical technique with flamenco. The choreography implies the use of hunting arms and drums. This magnificent show makes its premiere in Russia.
Our Street Programme will be a pleasant surprise to the Muscovites and visitors alike. From 20 May to 20 August, with support from the Government of Moscow, the street theatre stars along with the World Series participants of the XVI Chekhov Festival will appear at open-air venues in different parts of Moscow, in some cases on specially constructed stages. Admission to all the Festival Street Programme events is free.
On 20 and 21 May our programme kicks off with performances by the Germán Cornejo Company. World tango champions and other talented artists invite all those interested to join their Argentinian dances, to watch the 30-minute show, and to dance together to the sounds of the bandoneon.
On 26, 27 and 28 May the performers and musicians of the G. Musrepov State Academic Youth Theatrefrom Kazakhstan will present a special open-air musical programme at various street venues of Moscow, with a range of ethnic and contemporary musical instruments.
On 2, 3 and 4 June the musicians of the Thăng Long Theatre, which was founded over half a century ago, will demonstrate traditional Vietnamese musical instruments and folk melodies to their viewers.
On 16, 17 and 18 June a unique choreographic open-air show will be presented by the Ricardo Curaqueo Dance Company from Santiago. The company carefully preserves and widely promotes the ethnic, ritual and musical traditions of the mapuche, the native people of present-day Chile. The blend of ritual movements of the mapuche with the plasticity of contemporary dance immerses the audience into the history and beliefs of this ethnic group. The director, Ricardo Curaqueo Curiche, is one of the leading contemporary choreographers in Latin America.
During the summer months, performances by the Flamenco Ballet of Barcelona and Japanese drummers are also planned.
On 18, 19 and 20 August the final show of the Street Programme will be the «Golden Age» by the InZhest Plastic Theatre from Belarus. For over 30 years this company has worked in the trend of contemporary pantomime, plastic and open-air theatre.
The venues and dates of some shows are to be confirmed.
From 22 May to 25 June Moscow’s Nikitsky and Gogolevsky Boulevards will host two open-air exhibitions entitled «The Faces of the Chekhov Festival» and «Russian Classics at the Chekhov Festival», and devoted to the 30thanniversary of the Chekhov International Theatre Festival.
The Moscow Programme always took a place of honour among other events at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival. For us, it is of great importance that our guests and participants, including directors, actors, heads of other festivals and producers, should get the chance to familiarise with the best new productions of Moscow theatres. During the thirty years of its existence, the Chekhov Festival developed strong creative links and partnerships with the majority of Moscow theatres. The Moscow Programme of the XVI Chekhov Festival will be devoted to the theatres for which their co-operation with the Festival has been, and remains, a crucial element of their activities. The provisional Moscow Programme comprises 43 productions by 25 theatres. The details will be announced later on.
The Educational Programme is an integral part of the Festival. It traditionally includes a series of free events for students, theatre professionals and the general public, such as master classes, lectures and labs run by renowned maestros, and meetings of Festival participants with the audience. Within the framework of the XVI Chekhov International Theatre Festival, from 12 to 23 June, we plan to open the Laboratory of directors from the CIS countries, the Baltics and Georgia, which will bring together young directors from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The programme is organised by the International Confederation of Theatre Unions, with support from the Inter-State Foundation for Humanitarian Co-Operation of Member States of the CIS. The artistic director of the Laboratory is Vladimir Pankov. As a result of this education process, open demonstrations of the production created by the participants will be held.
The Chekhov Festival, jointly with the Regional Public Foundation for Support of the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, is promoting the Festival programmes and shows in Russian regions. As of today, the XVI Chekhov Festival is planning performances in two cities, Voronezh and Yekaterinburg. Thus, thanks to our co-operation with the Platonov International Festival of Arts, viewers in Voronezh will see the «Wild Tango» by the Germán Cornejo Company from Argentina, and Gor Markarian’s version of «Gardenia» based on the play by Elżbieta Chowaniec (K.S. Stanislavsky State Russian Drama Theatre of Yerevan), as well as the traditional Vietnamese puppet show on water (Thăng Long Theatre).
In Yekaterinburg shows from Argentina and Brazil will be presented, i.e. «Wild Tango» by the Germán Cornejo Company, and «To Moscow! Palimpsest» by Setor de Áreas Isoladas Company. These performances are organised jointly with the «Engagement Art Holding».