UK-Russia 2014 marks major cultural exchange

A celebration of James Bond’s eponymous style, an exhibition of extremely rare items from the Russian space programme, and a traditional Russian spring festival are just some of the highlights of the recently unveiled UK-Russia Year of Culture.

Taking place throughout the course of next year, in venues across both countries, the scheme will present more than 250 events spanning culture, science, education and sports.

Organised in the UK by the British Council, and in Russia by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the aim of the initiative is to foster cultural exchange and improve relations between citizens and governments.

Projects and performances to be staged in Moscow include Akram Khan’s iTMOi, inspired by The Rite of Spring; Russia’s first ever exhibition of cinema fashion, featuring Brits Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood; and Northern Ireland Opera’s The Turn of the Screw.

Several UK theatres will take work to Russia, including National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Young Vic. The theatre programme of the cultural year is organised by Chekhov International Theatre Festival and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

In London, meanwhile, maestro Dmitri Jurowski will conduct the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; the Tate Modern will host a major retrospective of the avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich; and the traditional Russian Maslenitsa festival will take over Trafalgar Square.

Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza said: ‘Russia and the UK are renowned for their cultural and creative contribution to the world so it is right that we come together to celebrate our grand trad-itions in 2014 whilst initiating new collaborations for the future.’

BP has been named the first UK Founder Sponsor of the Russia Year of Culture.

Photo: Dressing the Screen exhibition © Ruth Hogben