Farid Bikchantayev: Nowruz moving away from definition of a ‘Turkic-speaking festival’
A round table discussion of the Association of National Theatres of Russia has been held in Kazan
At the round table discussion of member theatres of the Association of National Theatres (ANT) of Russia, Turkey (participated as a guest) proposed to hold a Theatre Olympiad in Ankara, and the Kamalovsky Theatre signed a memorandum of cooperation and interaction with the Syrdarya Regional Music and Drama Theatre. But with a separate nomination of the Golden Mask for national performances, they promised only to think.
Schools, courses, pitching
Although the organisers diligently listed all the leaders, two people were sitting at a round table. The theatre director of Kamal theatre, Farid Bikchantaev (he is a member of the council of the ANT), and the executive director of the ANT, Igor Troilin (he is also the first deputy director of the Alexandrinsky Theatre for the New Stage), who talked about the implemented projects and plans. Unfortunately, there was no declared secretary of the ANT, Art Director of the Pskov Academic Drama Theatre Andrey Pronin. The participants diligently photographed the slides, apparently thinking which of the troupe, administration, technical group to send where.
“The idea of the association — it was not even invented," said Troilin. “Time itself, communication between artists, creators of national theatres, the need to learn about each other by coming into contact with the theater of another people — all this worked out. It was just necessary to give it an organisational form.”
Valery Fokin, the artistic director of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, proposed to create the Association in 2019 (all information can be found on their website). On January 11, 2022, a memorandum on the creation of the ANT was signed at the founding conference at the National Theatre of Karelia in Petrozavodsk. There are 40 participants in the association in total. From Tatarstan, it includes Almetyevsk, Buinsk, Kamal, Kariev theatres. According to Troilin, three more institutions have submitted applications.
Already on February 28, a meeting of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Culture, and Art was held, where the association announced a work plan. For example, last May, the Organisation of audio descriptive commentary in the theatre project began, in Tatarstan — it was implemented in the Kariev theatre.
A summer educational programme was organised at the Nowruz Forum in 2022. In June, the 1st Congress of National Theatres of Russia was held in Yakutia. The pitching of director's projects was organised at it, Soyzhin Zhambalova (Buryatia), Ilshat Mukhutdinov (Bashkortostan), Gulnaz Minkina (Tatarstan), and Roman Dorofeev (Sakha, Yakutia) participated in it.
In Yakutia, the transfer of one of the unfinished Moscow buildings to the national theatres of the Russian Federation was also discussed.
“All nationalities and all languages are represented in Moscow," Troilin pointed out.
In September, the National Theatre art school was organised in Tavrida. And the Master's degree programme “Artistic Management of the Theatre” began to operate at the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts.
“Now the chief director of the Gafuri Theatre, Ayrat Abushakhmanov, is taking his master's degree exams," Bikchantayev noted. “That is, being the main director, he takes these courses as an artistic director. The man wants to acquire skills to go further.”
The admission to the master's programme Performance Design (Dramaturgy) has been opened this year.
By the end of autumn, they moved on to creative projects. Anton Okoneshnikov's play “Shakespeare. Sonnets” in online and offline format were shown. Poems in Russian, Tatar (translated from English by Sharaf Mudarris) and Mari, were read by artists of Alexandrinka, Almetyevsk and Mari National Drama Theatres. The last two cultural institutes performed virtually.
In March 2023, a project began at the Serbian National Theatre: the course “Fundamentals of Management in Modern National Theatre”.
Pskov is waiting for Ilgiz Zayniev
Now performances are being filmed for the project “Theatre subscription. Act 1. National Theatres” for the Tricolor online cinema. In particular, at the end of June, the Kamal theatre's premiere “Muhadzhirs. Feculence” will be filmed in Kazan. .
“There is a very serious, long preparation," said Bikchantayev. “They come, rehearse, watch. Serious guys.
The Pskov Theatre hosts nonresident directors. To be fair, it didn't start last year. Ayrat Abushakhmanov staged the “Captive Spirits” of the Presnyakov brothers in October 2021. His colleague from Sterlitamak, Anton Fedorov, in May 2022 — Bulgakov's “Morphine”, and Sergey Potapov from Yakutia in November 2021 — “Zoika's apartment”. Damir Salimzyanov from Udmurtia presented Pygmalion in December 2022. In November of this year, the premiere from Ilgiz Zayniev takes place. According to him, one of these days it will be decided what kind of play it will be, the choice is for the Tatar classics.
Troilin spoke about the Theatre Olympiad, which is currently taking place in Budapest, last year it was held in Russia and Japan. It includes national performances. The director general of the Turkish State Theatres, Mustafa Kurt, offered from the spot to hold the next one in Ankara
Summer: Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Chechnya
As for the projects, the summer theatre school under the advanced training programme “Technical Management. Functioning and coordination of the work of the artistic and staged part units of the National Theatre. Planning the release of new productions, features of working with the repertoire” is beginning in St. Petersburg. In August — a conference of the Association of National Theatres in Dagestan, a drama laboratory in St. Petersburg, in November in the northern capital — a round table discussion on the development of national theatres of Russia. The 2nd Congress of National Theatres of Russia and another round table discussion are scheduled for 2024 — within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.
A question was raised from the audience about the topic of a separate nomination of the Golden Mask Award for national theatres raised in Yakutia. Perhaps, because there are so many such performances in this year's lists?
“This topic was under discussion," said Troilin. “But now there is a process of reorganisation of 'Mask' itself. We decided to postpone this topic for now.
He also explained his doubts by that with national theatres there is a problem of understanding, decryption. There are performances in body language, in bird language. What do we do with them? And, in general, I don't want to isolate them: The “Mask” should equalize everyone.”
“They have problems themselves," they noticed from the audience.
“We are not limited here, although the name remains — Turkic-speaking," Bikchantayev began to reason. “But we will also push it back, apparently. This year, we dedicated the festival to the North Caucasus, where not everyone is Turkic-speaking.”
The idea was continued by the director of the Bashkir Drama Theatre, Irshat Fayzullin, who said that in May 2024, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Ufa, the Tuganlyk festival is held.
“Unfortunately, he does not have a period when it definitely takes place. It was called the “International Festival of Turkic-speaking Theatres”. We want to reformat it: International Festival of National Theatres.
“Great, so in May — to Ufa, then to us," said Bikchantaev.
“And then to the Federation," added the artistic director — director of the Chechen theatre, Khava Akhmadova.