Amsterdam artists against Putin’s Law

Gay Pride 2013 St. Petersburg, Russia (c) Valya Egorshin
Gay Pride 2013 St. Petersburg, Russia
(c) Valya Egorshin

The laws introduced in Putin’s Russia against the promotion of gay lifestyle and curbing press freedom have unsettled many groups around the world.  Amsterdam artists spoke out against these measures this week. One singer cancelled his concerts in Russia and a leading Dutch theatre group spoke out in public after their performance in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Earlier this week, the international successful and openly gay Amsterdam jazz singer Wouter Hamel canceled his tour through Russia. His statement on twitter read “Decided to postpone our Russian tour indefinitely. I’m scared&wouldn’t be able to perform well. Ain’t nothing wrong with being gay. It’s OK!” A clear sign that draconian anti-gay laws have an impact far beyond the Russian borders. Fans showed their support for his decision on twitter.

On Friday the 4th October the Toneelgroep Amsterdam (the main theater production house in Amsterdam) closed a performance in St. Petersburg, Russia, with a public statement. At the end of the play “Russen!” (Russians!) the leading actress Halina Reijn read out a statement, asking the Russian government to repeal the laws and protect the freedom, safety and liberties of journalists and  Gays, Lesbians, Transgenders and Bisexuals. This statement was supported by the whole crew of Toneelgroep Amsterdam: “from technician to actor, from writer to director”. The Dutch version of this statement is available online, you can use Google Translate to read it in your own language.

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