Anna Glukhanyuk

Pressure of Religious Context: Russian Theatre, Politics and Orthodox Church

The contemporary situation in Russia makes us re-think connections between art—religion—politics. The Orthodox Church is becoming influential as a social institution that works not only with the content of art practices, but also its positioning on political and social scenes. Contemporary Russian theatre finds itself between entertainment industry and urgent social and political issues. Theatre directors like Kirill Serebrennikov, Nikolay Kolyada, Timofey Kulyabin, etc. “perform” provocative discourses as a reaction to church and politics. The Orthodox Church is becoming an instrument of accusation and a platform for forming “correct” reaction in society. My own interest is to study the process of creation of cultural meanings by means of religious content to follow political interests in contemporary Russia. As an example, I studied the situation around the opera “Tannhäuser” in Novosibirsk by following internet discussions and participating in social networks. As a result of my research, the main discourses could be divided into the Western discourse and religious obscurantism. A first overview opened several levels of further research: the sacralization level (theatre as a temple of art); the symbolical level (orthodox symbols must be/can be used? … in “correct”, “traditional” way); the political level (governmental theatre, governmental money, governmental order).

Anna Glukhanyuk’s educational and research backgrounds are in Cultural Studies. In 2002, she graduated from Ural State University and obtained her doctoral candidate (kandidatskaia) in 2005. Her research interests were mostly connected with the process of the revival of Orthodoxy on the Post-Soviet scene, religious identity of young adults, and everyday religion. She was part of several scholarly projects working on the further developement of her research interests: Carnegie Research Fellowship Program 2007, DAAD in 2010, CEU CRC in 2011. Glukhanyuk’s research was permanently combined with teaching and administrative activities. As a lecturer her interests are in the sociology of art and culture and the management of cultural projects. She also worked in administrative positions as International Education Administrator and Vice-rector of Ekaterinburg State Drama School (since 2011). Recently she was working on a combination of her research interests with management at the Drama School, which led her to join the AHRC-funded project “Heavenly acts: aspects of performance through an interdisciplinary lens” and the development of the topic “Pressure of religious context: Russian theatre, politics and Orthodox Church”.

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