The Golden Mask is the National Theatre Award established in 1994 by the Theatre Union of Russia for productions in all genres of theatre art: drama, opera, ballet, modern dance, operetta, musical, and puppet theatre. The Golden Mask is also an all-Russian Theatre Festival that takes place in Moscow in the spring of each year presenting the most significant performances from all over Russia. The Golden Mask National Theatre Award and Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the RF Theatre Union 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 development trends.
The Golden Mask Festival performances and other presentations and projects implemented by the Golden Mask team 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 shown on the 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.
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 RF Ministry of Culture.