Bush Theatre And Hightide Festival Theatre Present PUSSY RIOT: HUNGER STRIKE, Oct 8-9
"Beginning Monday, 23 September, I am going on hunger strike. This is an extreme method, but I am convinced that it is my only way out of my current situation."
On August 17 2012, 21-year old Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was sentenced to two years imprisonment in Penal Colony No 14 in the Mordovian village of Parts. She was convicted along with Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina, fellow members of Pussy Riot. Charged with "premeditated hooliganism performed by an organized group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility" all three pleaded not guilty. Their lawyers said that the circumstances of the case revived the Soviet-era tradition of the show trial.
In protest against the shocking 'slavery-like' conditions that she endures as a prisoner of Penal Colony No 14, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has written an extraordinary letter detailing her experiences there and explains why she has taken to staging a hunger strike until the prison authorities 'start treating us like humans'.
This event is a collaboration between the Bush Theatre and HighTide Festival Theatre and includes a performance of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's letter by Stacey Gregg, a theatre-maker and writer. The performance is directed by Steven Atkinson (Artistic Director, HighTide) with dramaturgy by Rob Drummer (Associate Dramaturg, Bush Theatre).
Stacey Gregg's work includes Perve (Abbey Theatre Dublin / La Licorne Montreal / Galway Youth Theatre Cuirt Festival),Lagan (Oval Theatre), Spoof Or Die (Channel 4 / Touchpaper), Jackie's Taxi (The Mac / Royal Festival Hall); and as a performerMoth (Hightide / Bush Theatre). She is currently working on commissions for The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Clean Break, and BBC NI. Gregg won a Stewart Parker BBC Radio Drama Award in 2012, and is a MacDowell Colony Fellow.
Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre Madani Younis said today, "The conditions Nadezhda and her fellow prisoners have and continue to endure as illustrated in the open letter and her conviction to bring about change are powerful and provocative. This event in support of Pussy Riot and freedom of expression is one we are all committed to at The Bush. The letter itself is a clarion call, an important and urgent expression of protest and the decision to share it aloud, through performance is one we wanted to support. Stacey Gregg is the perfect theatre maker to give this letter voice and we are proud to collaborate with HighTide in support of Nadezhda and Pussy Riot."
Steven Atkinson, Artistic Director HighTide Festival Theatre, added "Reading Nadezhda's letter I, like everybody I've spoken to, was struck by her bravery to go on hunger strike and appalled by the conditions she and her fellow prisoners endure. But I was also taken by the literary achievements of her writing, and I trust that as performed by Stacey Gregg, it will be a powerful piece of theatre and one we're proud to collaborate with the Bush on creating."
Each performance will be followed by a platform event with guest speakers, supported by English PEN.
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