TheaterMania Logo
Home link

Artistic Director of Moscow's Meyerhold Theatre Resigns in Protest Against War

Elena Kovalskaya announced that she could no longer in good conscience draw a state salary.

Elena Kovalskaya is the former director of the Meyerhold Theatre and Cultural Center.

Elena Kovalskaya, the most recent artistic director of the Meyerhold Theatre and Cultural Center, has resigned her post in protest over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "It is impossible to work for a murderer and get a salary from him," she wrote in a Facebook post.

The Meyerhold Theatre is one of several state-run theaters in Russia, many of which were inherited from the Soviet Union (although the Meyerhold was established in 1999). The state provides almost all of the funding, with artistic staff and actors as employees on payroll.

This particular theater is named for Vsevolod Meyerhold, the early Soviet experimental theater director and teacher, known for employing elaborate constructivist sets and a revolutionary actor training technique known as "biomechanics." Meyerhold was denounced by members of Joseph Stalin's government for promoting "bourgeois formalism," which was the term of choice for any avant-garde art that did not conform to the easily digestible "socialist realism" favored by the regime. Meyerhold was arrested, tortured, and subsequently executed by firing squad on February 2, 1940.

Vsevolod Meyerhold's 1922 production of The Magnanimous Cuckold.