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Pussy Riot to Launch Experimental Theater Project ‘Inside Pussy Riot’

Pussy Riot is teaming with London theater company Les Enfants Terribles to produce a “political theatre experience” called Inside Pussy Riot, which chronicles the Russian feminist punk band’s arrest and imprisonment following a 2012 performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

The group’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, who co-created the project, will participate in a selection of shows during the limited six-week run this fall at an as-yet-undetermined London venue. Pussy Riot and Les Enfants Terribles created a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production, with the ultimate goal of £60 000 ($78,213).

Campaign pledgers can earn rewards like “Straight Outta Vagina” (which includes a ticket to see the play and an invitation to participate in the project’s social media campaign) and “Kremlin Stooge” (a signed Pussy Riot original print). 

In a statement about Inside Pussy Riot, Tolokonnikova said the piece will transport audiences from the original February 21st, 2012 performance of anti-Putin song “Punk Prayer” to their trial and prison cells.

“We’re going to recreate Russian courtrooms, a real Russian labour colony, solitary confinement cells, priests who shout about banning abortions and many more absurd, but real-life things that exist in Russia today,” she said. “The audience will actually get the chance to re-live each one of these experiences themselves in London, learning what it means to be a political opponent in Russia today. We’ll take you on a journey from the cathedral altar deep into the vaults of the Kremlin itself. Hopefully, this is a journey that you’ll only have to make once in your life.”

“In order to ensure [the play’s] launch, we need to pre-fund this high-tech production – and fast,” she added. “All the money raised will be spent on the gallery space, the set design, employing actors and staff for the show’s six week run and making those rooms in London look exactly like solitary confinement cells in the Russian prison I did my time in.”

In a video trailer on the Kickstarter site, Les Enfants Terribles’ artistic director Oliver Lansley and producer James Seager said it was a “no-brainer” to create the play. “We really wanted to get involved, and we thought it was an important for us to tell and for people in London to hear,” they added.

Les Enfants Terribles is best known for a string of acclaimed productions – including the Olivier-nominated Alice’s Adventures Underground – that incorporate live music, props and puppetry.

Last year, Tolokonnikova joined Peter Gabriel, Johnny Depp, Tom Morello and other musicians for the Voice Project’s “Imprisoned for Art” campaign, which raises awareness and funds to support free expression. 

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