Sir Tom Stoppard, Bianca Jagger and Vladimir Bukowski lead gala performance of “One Hour Eighteen Minutes” in London in memory of Sergei Magnitsky

November 22, 2012

Last night in London, three globally recognised personalities joined the worlds of entertainment and media, in a special gala performance of the play “One Hour Eighteen Minutes” which focuses on the final moments in the life of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was killed in custody in 2009 after uncovering and exposing Russian government corruption.

Following the performance of the play, Sir Tom Stoppard the renowned playwright, Bianca Jagger, human rights campaigner, and the former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukowski took to the stage with William Browder, CEO Hermitage Capital, to discuss the state of human rights and rule of law in modern Russia and the campaign for justice for Sergei Magnitsky.

Bianca Jagger, William Browder, Vladimir Bukowski, Sir Tom Stoppard

Speaking after the performance, Sir Tom Stoppard, who has been personally involved with human rights issues and with the situation of political dissidents in Central and Eastern Europe for many years, spoke about the lack of shame that is felt by Russian government officials involved in the Magnitsky affair and how there is no sense of responsibility by them for their own actions. He highlighted the impunity being shown by the Russian authorities in relation to the Magnitsky case.

Bianca Jagger, founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and a Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, spoke about the plight of Pussy Riot. She pointed out how it exposed the lack of judicial independence and how politicized the courts in Russia had become. Jagger noted that while the Magnitsky case was far more egregious, it was the case of Pussy Riot that brought the Magnitsky case to a new global audience.

Vladimir Bukowski, a leading member of the dissident movement in the former Soviet Union has been in the UK since the 1970s when after negotiations between the USSR and the USA, he was exchanged for the Chilean political prisoner, Luis Corvalán, who had been imprisoned by Augusto Pinochet. Bukowski was also a former candidate in the 2007 Russian presidential election running against Vladimir Putin. Bukowski outlined his opinions on how modern day Russia is mirroring Soviet times and all the progress that had begun in the 1990s was now in reverse. Bukowski also said that the crackdown on certain civil liberties, the media and the laws restricting NGOs, is taking the country backwards.

“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 civilian medics from entering his cell to register his death. Since Sergei Magnitsky’s death, only one of the officials involved in his persecution has been prosecuted. Instead, the Russian government promoted the officers involved and gave them top state honors.

“One Hour Eighteen Minutes” 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 previously been commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre and 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.
Performed in English: Tues – Sat @ 19:30 Saturday Matinee @ 15:00
Venue: New Diorama Theatre 15-16 Triton Street, Regents Place, London NW1 3BF
For Theatre PRESS ENQUIRIES or photos please contact Margarita Osepyan on:
Phone: +44 7805 668 060
To book tickets:
Visit or call 0207 383 9034


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