Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it has a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33. They stage unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet, as well as reported widely by international media. Their lyrical themes include feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator, and links between Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Pussy Riot will be touring their newest project, PUSSY RIOT THEATRE, with “Revolution” – a play based on Maria Alyokhina’s book. This is her personal story of Pussy Riot, including two main actions, the Red Square and the Cathedral of The Christ The Savior; escape from police, arrest, jail and police investigation, trial, and prison camp.
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Areas of Representation: The Americas
PUSSY RIOT THEATRE is a new Pussy Riot’s project, lead by Maria Alyokhina.
PUSSY RIOT is a Russian all-female protest art collective based in Moscow. Founded in March 2011, it had a variable membership of approximately 11 women. The group staged unauthorized provocative guerrilla punk rock performances in unusual public places, which were made into music videos and posted on the Internet. The collective’s lyrical themes included feminism, LGBT rights, and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom the group considered to be a dictator. These themes also encompassed Putin’s links to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
They gained global notoriety when five members of the group staged a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 2012. The group’s actions were regarded sacrilegious by the Orthodox clergy and eventually stopped by church security officials. The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders’ support for Putin during his election campaign. In March 2012, three of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested and charged with hooliganism. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, and each was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On October 10, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation and her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld.
The trial and sentence attracted considerable attention and criticism, particularly in the West. The case was adopted by human-rights groups, including Amnesty International, which designated the women as prisoners of conscience, and by a number of prominent entertainers. Having served 21 months, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released on December 23, 2013, after the State Duma (Russian Parliament) approved an amnesty. After their release, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina and several other members performed as Pussy Riot during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where they were attacked with whips and pepper spray by Cossacks who were employed as security guards.
In 2014-2016 Pussy Riot (Alyokhina and Tolokonninkova with different line-ups), recorded and released several videos: “Putin Will Teach You To Love The Motherland”, “I Can’t Breathe” (named for the last words that Eric Garner said as New York City Police held him to the ground in a chokehold), “Chaika”, “Organs”, and “Make America Great Again”.
Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have appeared as speakers in many international festivals, conferences and other events in the USA, Canada, all Europe, Australia, Singapore. They represented Pussy Riot and Mediazona – the very influential Russian human rights online media, founded by Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova in 2014.
In 2016 Maria Alyokhina successfully debuted as a lead actress of the critically acclaimed play of Belarus Free Theatre, “Burning Doors” – a story of three artists, who became political prisoners in Russia: Maria Alyokhina, Petr Pavlensky and Oleg Sentsov. Performing in “Burning Doors”, Alyokhina toured UK (for two months), Italy and Australia. A US tour of “Burning Doors” is planned for 2017.
Maria Alyokhina’s extensive experience with “Burning Doors” helped her to start a new project, PUSSY RIOT THEATRE, with “Revolution” – a play based on Alyokhina’s book. This is Maria Alyokhina’s personal story of Pussy Riot, including two main actions, the Red Square and the Cathedral of The Christ The Savior; escape from police, arrest, jail and police investigation, trial, and prison camp.
There are 4 people on stage: 2 women and 2 men. Maria Alyokhina herself; Kyril Kanstansinau, her main stage partner on “Burning Doors”; and psycho-punk music duo AWOTT (Asian Women On The Telephone). The project is produced by Alexander Cheparukhin and SXSW PERFORMANCE WILL BE THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “REVOLUTION” BY THE PUSSY RIOT THEATRE
Pussy Riot? You couldn’t ask for more appealing activists. Not only had their prosecution been unjust, but they were young and attractive and intelligent and fearless. After they were released, Amnesty International invited them to New York and set about making sure their voices were heard by as wide an audience as possible. If Putin’s plan was, in fact, to quiet criticism during the Winter Olympics, it backfired spectacularly. — NY TIMES
After all they’ve had to endure, it is their stubborn belief in the power of information and their insistent hope for a brighter future for Russia that strike one most… That, and the fact that when they are outside of Russia they feel nothing so strongly as the need to get back to work in their own country—where, they’ve realized, they will now have to hire bodyguards. — VANITY FAIR
But after spending an afternoon with them, what strikes me most… is how funny they are, and how often they are giggling conspiratorially about something or another. At the summit they are introduced as “brilliant pranksters turned political prisoners,” but no such transformation has taken place; they still manage to embody both of these roles simultaneously. — PITCHFORK
Amid thunderous cheers at the Barclays Center on the eve of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Madonna hailed the women’s courage, and thanked them for “making pussy a ‘sayable’ word in my household. — NEWSWEEK