Award Winning Play about Magnitsky’s Murder to Open in London Theatre on Anniversary of His Death

October 31, 2012


UK theatre debut of an award-winning play about the murder of Sergei Magnitsky

in Russian Custody to start on 13th November 2012

(OPENING NIGHT 16 November 2012)


30 October 2012 – The British theatre debut of “One Hour Eighteen Minutes”, an award-winning play that merges theatre, politics and human rights campaigning into a powerful account of a one-man’s tragedy at the hands of a repressive state, will open at the New Diorama Theatre in London on 13th November 2012.  The play depicts the final hours of Sergei Magnitsky, a whistle-blowing Russian lawyer who uncovered massive corruption in the Russian government, testified about it and was killed in custody.


The opening night will be on Friday 16 November 2012, the third anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death and will feature a performance followed by a post-show discussion with William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, who is running a worldwide campaign for justice for Sergei Magnitsky.


Date:    16 November 2012

Venue: New Diorama Theatre, 15 – 16 Triton Street, Regents Place, London, NW1 3BF

Time:   7.30 pm


Sergei Magnitsky was a young Russian lawyer who uncovered and exposed the largest tax theft in Russian history carried out by Russian government officials and criminals. After testifying against the officials involved, some of the very same people had him arrested and imprisoned. He was tortured in custody in an attempt to make him retract his testimony and when his health deteriorated, he was denied medical care. Following a beating by riot guards with rubber batons, he died in a Moscow prison cell on 16th November 2009, aged 37, leaving a wife and two children.


“One Hour Eighteen Minutes” weaves together a dramatic tale which gives unprecedented insight into the dark heart of modern-day Russia. The script is based on the hand-written diaries kept by Sergei Magnitsky during his 358 days of incarceration documenting his ill-treatment. The title of the play refers to the time that prison guards prevented two civilian medics from entering his cell to register his death. Since Sergei Magnitsky’s death, not one of the officials involved in his persecution has been prosecuted.  Instead, the Russian government promoted the officers in charge of his case and gave them top state honors.


Sergei Magnitsky’s case and the impunity of the officers has led to a dramatic movement in Russian society calling on the West to introduce sanctions on Russian officials responsible for his death and the corruption he had uncovered, in the form of visa bans and freezes on their assets in Western banks. As a result, the U.S. State Department has already imposed visa bans. The European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE have passed resolutions this year calling on Western governments to enact the Magnitsky sanctions. The US Magnitsky Act is currently going through the US Congress. The Russian government is vehemently opposing the Magnitsky sanctions, and President Putin has made resisting them one of his top foreign policy priority.


The play was originally written by Russian playwright Elena Gremina, who is considered by many to be the most important political playwrights in Russia today. Gremina also co-founded Teatr.doc in Moscow, which has been instrumental in fostering political playwriting in Russia. She has been published in Moscow theatre journals and is the laureate of the Stalker Prize in 2005 for her work in contemporary theater, and the winner of the All-Russian Competition of Plays in Moscow. She was commissioned by Tricycle Theatre to co-write one of the plays in The Bomb, and has been commissioned by The Royal Court.


Noah Birksted-Breen, the director of the production, won the Channel 4 Theatre Director’s Award in 2006. His theatre company, Sputnik, is the only British theatre company dedicated to staging new Russian drama.


The play will run for two weeks from 13 November – 1 December 2012. Performances start at: 7.30 pm


Performed in English: Tues – Sat @ 19:30 Saturday Matinee @ 15:00 Ticket Prices: 12.50 / 10.50 (Concessions)


Venue: New Diorama Theatre 15-16 Triton Street, Regents Place, London NW1 3BF

For PRESS ENQUIRIES or photos please contact Margarita Osepyan on:


Phone: 07805668060



Review of the Moscow Premier of One Hour Eighteen Minutes by Radio Free Europe:

Moscow Theater Stages Last Days Of Detained Lawyer


To book tickets:


Visit or call 0207 383 9034




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