The Salzburg Festival has a new head of acting: Russian theater maker Marina Davydova, who fled after the Russian attack on Ukraine, will replace Bettina Hering. The festival announced this in a broadcast on Thursday. Hering is leaving the festival after seven years after the 2023 edition. Davydova’s contract begins October 1, 2023 and is for three years. Intendant Hinterhäuser’s contract currently runs until 2026.
Born in 1966 in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Russian exile has already worked with Markus Hinterhäuser once before, in 2016 as director of drama at the Wiener Festwochen. Davydova was a theater critic, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Teatr.”, curator and director of festivals. With her festival “New European Theater” (NET), she was partly responsible for the Russian theater boom of the past 15 years, which Putin’s policies put an end to. She had to leave Russia in early March after writing a petition calling for an immediate end to the war immediately after the attack on Ukraine. Since then she has lived in Berlin. According to the broadcast, she is currently working on a play called “Land of No Return” for the Munich Residenz Theater and on a project entitled “The Museum of Uncounted Voices”, a co-production of HAU Berlin and of the Vienna Festival.
“The focus of the drama at the Salzburg Festival will continue to be on the German-language repertoire, but under her direction, our high proportion of visitors from a total of 76 countries should be taken into account with an increased international orientation,” Hinterhäuser was quoted as saying in the broadcast. “I am convinced that Marina Davydova, with her outstanding professional and human qualities, will give the acting at the Salzburg Festival strong new impetus.”
Even in times of war, the meaning and purpose of art remains “to fathom life in all its ontological, existential and social aspects,” says Davydova. “As director of drama at the Salzburg Festival, my main focus of interest will be on the search for the depth and persuasiveness of theater and theater work.”