Friday 17 November 2017 / Islington Assembly Hall / 20:00
RIOT DAYS, a new project led by Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, makes its UK premiere on Friday 17 November in a Barbican-promoted performance at Islington Assembly Hall, following a successful tour of the USA and international festival appearances. The performance, formerly titled The Revolution, is a collaboration with music producer Alexander Cheparukhin, based on Alyokhina’s book also titled RIOT DAYS (due for publication by Penguin on 14 September 2017).
Directed by leading Russian Theatre director Yury Muravitsky (recipient of the Golden Mask annual Russian Theatre award), the performance features Alyokhina, actor Kiryl Masheka, and Nastya and Max of the music duo AWOTT (Asian Women On The Telephone). RIOT DAYS is a retelling of Pussy Riot’s 2012 political performance in a Moscow cathedral and the near two year prison sentence that Alyokhina served as a result. Narration, re-enactment, video footage and experimental soundtrack combine to convey the story – both personal and political.
Pussy Riot is a Russian protest art collective based in Moscow, founded in March 2011. Their activities took the form of unauthorised guerrilla punk rock performances, filmed and uploaded to the internet. The collective’s 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 following a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in 2012. Three Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested and charged with hooliganism. On 17 August 2012 the three members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", and each was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On 10 October, 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. Having served 21 months, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released on 23 December 2013, after the State Duma (Russian Parliament) approved an amnesty.
2014 – 2016 saw continuing Pussy Riot videos, performances and actions in a variety of line-ups. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova appeared as speakers in many international festivals, conferences and other events in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Singapore. RIOT DAYS is Alyokhina’s latest creative endeavour which is already provoking, inspiring and entertaining audiences across the world.