Ukrainian theatre born in Kyiv bomb shelter
Six displaced Ukrainian theatre artists will travel to Waterford in February for a week-long residency at the Theatre Royal that will coincide with the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of their country.
The residency will culminate in the Irish premiere of Hooligan Art Community’s critically acclaimed theatre show ‘Bunker Cabaret’ – a piece of work that was born in the bomb shelters of Kyiv last year.
Hooligan, an independent professional theatre collective of multidisciplinary artists, was formed in Kyiv in 2019 but its performers were separated following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two months after the invasion began, the situation in Ukraine allowed women from the company to travel to a residency in Germany, while two male members of the company remained in Ukraine, restricted by law from leaving the country. In May 2022 the company came together remotely, some based in Germany at that point and others from a bomb-shelter in Kyiv, developing new scenes which would become the inspiration for ‘Bunker Cabaret’. Now reunited in the UK, they will embark upon a UK and European tour this Spring. The Waterford show is the only Irish date on that tour.
The artists will arrive in the city on 26th February and spend a number of days rehearsing and adapting to a new performance space at the Theatre Royal, before public performances of ‘Bunker Cabaret’ at the Large Room, City Hall on 2nd and 3rd March. Hooligan will also present a screening of two short films followed by a Q&A session at Garter Lane Arts Centre on 1st March, in association with Waterford Library Services and Europe Direct. The residency is supported by Waterford City & County Council and The Arts Council and a number of Waterford individuals and companies have also come on board to sponsor the visit, providing meals, local transport and accommodation during the artists’ time in the city.
“It is so important that Hooligan’s artists get to tell their stories to an Irish audience”, commented Mary Boland, Theatre Royal Director. “Their theatre and their vision for their culture needs recognition and a platform on the international stage now more than ever. The Theatre Royal team is privileged to be part of a group of arts professionals across Europe helping the company to share their work. And we are deeply indebted to the generosity of the local individuals and companies who are assisting us with hosting these artists while they are here. I would urge people to come out and support them, and enjoy this inspiring piece of work that came from the most extraordinary of circumstances.”
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