"Give our taxes back!" Russia's first private theater is threatened with closure

News
"Give our taxes back!" Russia's first private theater is threatened with closure
"Give our taxes back!" Russia's first private theater is threatened with closure
9 December 2020, 13:21Culture
The Private Theater of Anton Chekhov, created in 1990, is being destroyed by the pandemic and the indifference of officials

Angelica Zaozerskaya

The director of the Anton Chekhov theater, Irina Grigoriyeva, appealed to the state with a request to support the first private theater, created on February 8, 1990 in Moscow, or to return them all taxes that they regularly paid for 30 years, counting on legal support in the event of an emergency.

It is unlikely that anyone today will undertake to dispute that a pandemic for the theatrical art in Moscow, where strict restrictive measures have been taken (the capacity of the hall is no more than 25 percent), is akin to a natural disaster. If state theaters, especially of federal significance, receive sufficient support from the budget, then non-state theaters survive as best they can. Or do not survive. One of the most successful stellar theaters in Russia (it is played by folk artists: Gennady Khazanov, Fyodor Dobronravov and others) announced the forced closure due to the resulting debt and lack of funds for salaries of artists and employees.

Irina Grigorievna, after a meeting in the Public Chamber, at which the situation with private theaters was discussed, published an alarming post on her page in the fb:

“Today there was a meeting at the Public Chamber on the problems of survival of private theaters and museums.

At this meeting, I talked about the situation in which the Anton Chekhov Theater is now. We've run out of money. We are not allowed to earn. And it's not just the 25% limitation. The propaganda in the media drove everyone to some kind of wild fear. By declaring theaters the most dangerous place for health, the authorities thereby simply deprived us of the opportunity to sell tickets. More precisely, not so: they forced people to stay at home in fear and not buy theater tickets.

At the same time, we have not received a single penny of assistance since March. For all our countless letters to all possible instances, we received refusals. We lived on the money we earned from the March and April performances (postponed to the fall). They are now over. Therefore, we are forced to cancel all performances in December (except two: December 19 and 20) and January. We are forced to suspend activities. Freeze. By the way, this also requires money. As well as the bankruptcy procedure... What happens next? When can we work again? And can we at all? I think no one knows this..."

Further, the theater director draws attention to the equality of all forms of ownership, enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation:

“Our theater, like many others, has a unique team of professionals. Their only fault is that they work in a private theater. How is the state going to communicate with them? Or are they outcasts? How did they deserve this attitude towards themselves?

We have paid taxes regularly for more than 30 years. The salaries of officials, including the Ministry of Culture, are our deductions. Although they say that we are not on the theatrical map of Russia... I think the time has come to return our money to us. We don't need promises of grants and tours now. We need money. To pay off debts. To work and pay salaries to your employees. For life. We never asked, we earned ourselves. Today you are preventing us from working and earning. And finally, the last thing. The Constitution stipulates the equality of all forms of ownership: both state and private. If the state takes upon itself the help and support of the guest theaters, and lets the private ones go around the world, isn't this a violation of the Constitution?"

In addition, the correspondent of Novye Izvestia Grigoriyeva told about the social programs in which her theater participates:

“We let the disabled with the cheapest tickets, and put them in the stalls. But there are also expensive tickets. In total - from 500 rubles. for social groups up to 22,000 for the wealthy. And we played entirely social performances within the framework of the presidential grant. There we played 12 performances for children, plus we held a lot of master classes. Everything is free.

By the way, in a number of state theaters, which receive support from the federal and Moscow budgets, there is no trace of ticket prices for 500 rubles. In a number of theaters with state support, ticket prices for Russian classics are 20,000 rubles or more.

Irina Grigorieva noted that "there is a glimmer of hope that the state will find an opportunity to support the theater in this difficult time..."

Found a typo in the text? Select it and press ctrl + enter