London: King’s Head Theatre commissions protest piece against Russian anti-gay laws

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A rapid response theatre piece has been commissioned by the King’s Head Theatre in London, in response to the international outcry surrounding recently introduced anti-gay laws in Russia.

The verbatim piece will see the voices of LGBT Russians represented live on stage, and aims to provide a visceral testimony from those in Russia some of whom have already been arrested, or persecuted as a result of several recently introduced laws.

The piece, which will take to the stage in September, aims to ask important questions, such as: “What will the countries of the world do about this? What can we make our leaders do? What will happen if we do nothing?”

Experienced verbatim playwright, Tess Berry-Hart is to interview LGBT Russians both in Russia and in the UK, and will use the stories to ” increase deeper authentic public awareness in the UK”. The piece will be directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, and is titled Sochi 2014.

Extracts of media coverage will also be used, as well as debate over solutions, as well as extracts from the Olympic Charter will attempt to highlight how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws violate the Olympic spirit, and the human rights of LGBT Russians.

All profits from the performances will be donated to SPECTRUM, Russia’s leading human rights organisation devoted to human rights advancement on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

The piece will debut at the King’s Head on September 1 and 2 at 19:15.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

The law has so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.

Yesterday the Russian Interior Ministry confirmed that recently introduced anti-gay legislation will remain in force during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

A petition which has gathered over 150,000 signatures, calls for the 2014 games to be relocated to Vancouver, following the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.