Bunin condemned it; Mayakovsky praised it; Dostoyevsky foreshadowed it, and John Reed reported on it.

A unique cast of prominent British and Russian-speaking actors and musicians under the direction of our guest from Moscow Michael Umanets explore the effects of the revolution on artistic imagination across different genres: folklore, literary texts by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Demons), Vladimir Mayakovsky (“Lilichka etc.”), John Reed (Ten Days That Shook the World), and by Ivan Bunin (Cursed Days); music, dance, pieces of documentary and stage play. Will those disjoint voices of villains, tormented lovers and humanity-savers and ever come together to create a spirit of revolution?

What are the causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917, or any revolution for that matter? A few generations of Soviet schoolchildren would gleefully (mis)quote Lenin’s definition of a revolutionary situation when those on top can’t do it, and those at the bottom don’t want to.

The crude humour ensured that the notion of a revolutionary crisis was not lost even on the dullest of minds, yet, sexual innuendos aside, little has been understood about those “on top,” “at the bottom” or in the middle – the real concerns and representations of the ruling class, middle class or the oppressed. As we are busy falling in and out of love, writing poetry, paying off our mortgage, saving animals and people we don’t know, how can we tell when Revolution is imminent? Why should it matter to us 100 years later?

A part of the Totally Thames 2017 festival.

Places are limited – RSVP to avoid disappointment.

There are two performances, here is a second one.