Serebrennikov to open Avignon Festival despite travel ban
“We don’t know for now whether he will be present in Avignon. We strongly hope so, of course,” festival director Olivier Py told AFP.
He said the programming of Serebrennikov’s new play “The Black Monk” at the Avignon Festival (July 7-26) was set two years ago, “long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Serebrennikov, 52, was convicted in 2020 of embezzling funds at Moscow’s Gogol Centre theater, where he was artistic director. He has called the charges “absurd” and supporters say he was being punished for backing LGBT+ rights.
Py said there was no hesitation in maintaining Avignon’s opening night slot for Serebrennikov -- “a major artist we have wanted for a long time.”
Serebrennikov was first detained in 2017 and placed under house arrest without phone or internet access, accused of stealing more than $2 million in state funds allocated to his theater.
He was released in April 2019 but told he could not leave the country until 2023.