American consulate refuses visas to Russian actors

The US consulate refused visas to actors of a youth theatre from Russia’s northern city of Arkhangelsk four hours before departure to New York. The theatre was the only Russian troupe invited to the New York festival Art Against Terror. President of the theatre Viktor Panov told PRAVDA.Ru that no reasons for the refusal have been explained.

Yesterday, Izvestia-Arkhangelsk newspaper reported that a strange incident occured at the US consulate when the actors started to prepare their documents US officials wouldn’t allow the Arkhangelsk actors travel to the USA because, some time before, Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre had been given visas to America. The officials did not understand at all that the Broadway anti-terrorism festival had nothing in common with the Mariinsky Theatre tour.

This unique Arkhangelsk theatre is well known in Europe, because it is an active participant in European theater festivals, including the famous Avignon. During his July visit to Arkhangelsk, Russian Minister for Culture Mikhail Shvydkoy admired the theatre headed by Viktor Panov and even agreed to provide financing for a tour to the USA. The Arkhangelsk theatre was going to perform a new play based on a story of Russia’s famous story-teller Stepan Pisakhov. Organizers of the festival planned that the Russian theatre would perform seven performances on Broadway, and all the tickets were already sold out. The festival in New York will last for 20 days.

The actors had tickets for August 13. While the US consulate decided whether or not to allow them into the USA, some of them were in Moscow while others were in St.Petersburg. Viktor Panov says that the consulate insisted that, in order for the actors to travel to the USA, they should receive permission from the emigration service. It is paradoxical, but the emigration service allows travel to the USA for work. However, the theatre was going not to work there; the actors were invited to a theatre festival in support of the American people for the anniversary of the tragic 9/11 events.

Vitaly Bratkov PRAVDA.Ru

In the photo: Director of the Arkhangelsk youth theatre Viktor Panov

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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