President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
We have gathered here in Yaroslavl for a good reason, which is to kick off the Year of Theatre in Russia, as 2019 will be the year of theatre art. The choice of venue is clear: Russian theatre, the drama theatre for the general public, was born here.
As you may be aware, 534 B.C. is the year when theatre, world theatre, was born. In our country, theatre in its proper form was created in the 18th century. As you know, our people often come up with wonderful sayings, one of which goes like this: in Russia, they saddle slow but ride fast. About the same thing happened with our theatre.
At first, it existed in the form of private performances at various estates and was promoted by the people who loved art and theatre. In 1750, our professional theatre was born here. In 1752, the company moved to St Petersburg, and in 1756, Empress Elizabeth of Russia decided to create, essentially, the first national theatre for the general public. This, of course, gave an incredible impetus to theatre art not only in our country, but throughout the world as well.
Saddling slow and riding fast is part of our national character, and it fully made itself felt in theatre art, because our theatre, without any exaggeration, has become the world’s leader. Theatre in the broad sense of the word.
It is not accidental that the colleagues with whom we met today told us that their foreign colleagues often come to Russia and do so with pleasure. Now we know why. Because we have created wonderful theatre schools in Russia in general, including the Russian Empire, later the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation today. We have the largest number of publicly-funded theatres compared to any other country. Of course, this is our strong side.
Theatre is a unique art that includes dancing, singing and acting. This art has an amazing effect on people. It is a multifaceted art. Our skilled actors and theatre directors have mastered this multifaceted art perfectly.
I strongly hope that the Year of Theatre in Russia will do more than just give an impetus to theatre art. It will help theatre professionals strengthen their positions in our country, take them around the world again and, of course, give an opportunity to theatre lovers in Russia to enjoy the performances that the theatre community brings to our people.
I congratulate you on the beginning of the Year of Theatre in Russia.