Golden Mask is the National Theatre Award established in 1993 by the Theatre Union of Russian Federation. The Golden Mask Award is the most prestigious award that is given to productions in all genres of theatre art: drama, opera, ballet, modern dance, operetta, musical, and puppet theatre.
Golden Mask is also an all-Russian Theatre Festival that takes place in Moscow in the spring of each year demonstrating the most significant premiers of the previous season.
The Golden Mask National Theatre Award and Festival is supported by the Theatre Union of Russian Federation, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Moscow Government.
The main Festival programme includes productions selected by two Boards of experts (one for drama and one for musical theatre) and nominated for the Golden Mask Award. During the Festival the two Juries composed of actors, directors, conductors, choreographers and theatre critics make decisions about winners of the Golden Mask Award.
The Festival of performances, nominated for the Golden Mask Award, is a major forum, representing a full and objective picture of the Russian theatrical life to professionals and public at large.
The Golden Mask is not only a reputable and prestigious award in the field of theatre art, but also a cultural institution, performing a complex of key strategic tasks for the theatre. The history of the Golden Mask is a chronicle of contemporary Russian Theatre, including all of its major trends.
The Golden Mask Festival performances and other presentations and projects are annually attended by tens of thousands spectators and receive the widest possible media coverage: hundreds of publications in press, television reports and stories. The Golden Mask Award Ceremony is broadcast by central Russian channels, such as RTR-Planet.
Organization of the Festival and Awards Ceremony is the main activity of the Golden Mask management team. Apart from that, the Festival team has initiated a number of significant events and projects, including the New Drama festival of contemporary plays, Russian Case programme - a showcase of Russian theatre addressed to the international guests of the Festival, PRO-Teatr Performing Arts Market, publishing projects, tours of the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Alexandrinsky and Maly Drama Theatre, to name just a few. Since 2009 the main (competition) programme is complimented by the non-competition programme Maska Plus.
In 2010 the non-competition section was expanded to include The New Play programme.
The Golden Mask makes a special focus on touring activities presenting programmes of best performances in the Russian cities and in the Baltic countries. These projects are supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
In 2016 the Golden Mask Festival will be held for the 22th time. The main (competition) programme will take place in Moscow in spring 2016. The Awards Ceremony will be held on April 17 at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre.