UNHCR together with the Theatre of Displaced People presents special programme at GogolFest 2016


KYIV, Ukraine, 16 September 2016 (UNHCR) - Today, one of the biggest cultural events in Kyiv - GogolFest 2016 - starts. The Stage of Displaced People will be part of Gogolfest 2016 held in Kyiv.  This is a special theatre programme which will tell the stories of people who have lost their homes. It is curated by the Theatre of Displaced People with the support of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The programme examines the concept of the Theatre as a last resort, as a last refuge in the flight from death. Does war continue in our hearts after our bodies escaped the horrors of war or repression? In their search for answers, Ukrainian, Syrian and German artists come to conclusion that the theater might be their only solution.

Where is the East? (Gde Vostok?)

18September, 19.30. The play ‘Where is the East?’ is the first performance by theTheatre of Displaced.Through monologues, people share their stories about their lives before and after displacement. The Theatre of Displaced People premiered this piece in October 2015. It was produced in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in Kyiv and toured around Ukraine. It is a project by Natalia Vorozhbyt, Alexey Karachinsky and Georg Genoux. 

A Documentary project by Natalia Vorobzhyt, Alexey Karachinsky and Georg Genoux with displaced people from Crimea

18 September, 18.00. Natalia Vorozhbyt, Alexey Karachinsky and Georg Genoux will present their new project with internally displaced people from Crimea. Since March 2014, more than 20,000 people fled Crimea to the mainland. They remember every minute spent on this sunny peninsula.  For Ukrainians, Crimea means sun and retreat, just like the Southern Coastline for French and the Baltic seaside for Lithuanians… Left without its sun and youth, Ukraine is returning to back to Crimea again and again in its memories.


19 September, 19.30. True stories of people, who fled their homes and started their new life in Poltava. The participants of the ZLATOMISTO project went to the city center in Poltava, asking locals  one question “When did you come to Poltava?” It turns out that every other person they met was not local, and many of people were from Donbass. The authors of this project see it as “a struggle against stereotypes”, which are very common in rural Poltava. The interviews with displaced people provide voices for the actors of Poltava’s amateur theatres. Theatre of Contemporary Dialogue (Poltava). Playwright: Irina Garets. Director: Galina Dzhikaeva.

Forum Performance “Rainbow Castles” (Razhduzhnye Zamki)

20 September, 19.00. Some people fled to Kyiv two years ago, others arrived to the capital recently. Displacement opened new horizons for some of them, while others are starting from scratch or simply going with the current. Every woman has her own story. During the performance they amalgamate their experience of forced displacement from cities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as Crimea, and the necessity of building a new life in a new city. What are the difficulties faced by women? What do they dream about? What do they want? Are their desires similar to the desires of women from other cities in Ukraine? This open forum performance about displaced women explores these questions and more. The script was created during a series of seminars on forum theatre for displaced women held in February and March 2016. The performance will be based on the personal experience of the participants who are the actresses in the piece. “Theatre for Dialogue” (Kyiv). Director - Oksana Potapova, Joker – Yana Salakhova.

The Elephant Skeleton in the Desert (Skelet Slona v pustiyne)

 22 September, 19.00. Testimony of Syrian author Ayham Majid Agha about the war in Syria. The performance premiered on 9 September in the Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin as part of STUDIO Я's project “The escape which defines me”. “When you are waiting for your partner, when you are surrounded, trapped in an empty city. When there are no more bridges to cross and your friend has become your enemy. There is only one way out – loneliness. What you see gradually transforms your city into the skeleton of an elephant in the desert”. The play was written as part of a laboratory, “The Escape which defines me”, the initiative of playwrights, Sasha Marianna Salzmann and Max Obekser.

Round Table “Refugees and Theater”

22 September, 20.00. The performance The Elephant Skeleton in the Desert will be followed by the round table discussion with Ukrainian, Syrian and German theatre experts, working with the topic of displacement. The roundtable will bring together professionals to discuss the issues of “refugees”, “theatre” and “art”. How can theatre deal with these pressing humanitarian questions? How is the refugee crisis in Europe influencing theatre and art? What can theatre and art do in order to help refugees and internally displaced people? Participants: Ayham Majid Agha, Mazlum Nergiz, Alik Sardanian, Alisa Kovalenko, Alexey Karachinsky and Georg Genoux.

EXIL Ensemble

As part of this round table discussion, the founders of EXIL Ensemble, a project assembled by The Maxim Gorki Theatre, will present their new ideas. The Maxim Gorki Theatre has brought together a group of actors and actresses from various countries, all of them forced to flee their homes because of war, political repressions, or fear of persecution. This theatre is a unique model of new, modern society, whose main aim is refugee integration into their new society.

Dad Will Sort it Out (Papa razberetsa)

25 September, 19.00. As part of the festival programme, the Theatre of Displaced People will show their first premier of this season, a documentary piece ‘Dad will Sort it Out’. The story of Natalya Nikolaevna, who joined the first play of the Theatre of Displaced, has inspired the group to develop a separate performance based on her lifestory. When Natalia was in her fifties, she entered the Luhansk Academy of Arts to study as a Puppet Theatre director.  She founded her own theatre studio together with disabled children, but she was forced to leave everything due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. She fled to Kyiv, where she now lives and is trying to create her own puppet theatre. Playwright - Oksana Savchenko. Directors - Liza Smith, Alik Sardarian. Idea - Georg Genoux. Actors – Yevhenia Vidischeva, Anastasiya Puhach, Anhelina Sardarian and Natalia Bedusenko.  

Displaced Kids

16-24 September. The Theatre of Displaced People also has a separate programme Displaced Kids. For displaced children it is often very difficult to adapt to a new place. The children programme will help them to adapt to their new conditions through theatre projects. During seven days, children will participate in a series of workshops with play writers, actors and artists. The week will conclude with “The Celebration Performance” where children will show the culmination of their week-long activities. The premiere of the play prepared by children in the course of the festival workshops will take place at  17.00 on 24 September. Project supervisor: Aleksandr Fomenko.

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