The Stage of Displaced People

The Stage of Displaced People will be part of Gogolfest held in Kyiv 2016.


This is an exceptional programme of theatre 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 Agency for Refugees in Ukraine (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 have been saved from the horrors of war or political repression? In searching for an answer to this question Ukrainian, Syrian and German artists have come to realise that it is their only way out.



Where is the East? (Gde Vostok?)


19.30, 18th September

Where is the East? was The Theatre of Displaced People’s first performance. Through monologues, people share their stories about their lives before and after they became displaced.


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


18.00, 18th September

Natalia Vorozhbyt, Alexey Karachinsky and Georg Genoux will present their new project working with displaced people. Ukraine has more than 20 000 refugees from Crimea. They remember every minute spent on this sunny peninsula.  For Ukrainians, Crimea means sun and retreat, just like the Southern Coast for the French, and for Latvians the Baltic…Ukraine remains without her sun or retreat, but returns to them again and again in her memories.





19.30, 19th September

True stories of people forced to leave their homes, who move to Poltava and start new lives there.


The participants of the ZLATOMISTO project went out onto the streets with this question “When did you come to Poltava?” It turns out that every other person is a visitor and that a great many of them are from Donbass. The creators of this project call it “the struggle against stereotypes” which is very pronounced in rural Poltava. The interviews with the displaced people provide voices for the actors of Poltava’s Amateur Theatre.


The Theatre of Contemporary Dialogue (Poltava).

Playwright: Irina Garets

Director: Galina Dzhikaeva.



Forum-Performance “Rainbow Castles” (Razhduzhnye Zamki)


19.00, 20th September

One woman moved to Kyiv two years ago, another recently.


For one the move opened new horizons, for the other it meant starting from scratch or simply going with the current. Every woman has her own story. Here they amalgamate their experience of forced displacement from cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces 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 Skeleton of an Elephant in the Desert (Skelet Slona v pustiyne)


19.00, 22nd September,

Syrian author Ayham Majid Agha’s testimony about the war in Syria.


The performance premiered on the 9th of 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 “Escape and Theatre” (Krugli Stol ‘Begstva y Teatr’)


20.00, 22nd September

After the performance of The Skeleton of an Elephant in the Desert a round table discussion will take place with Ukrainian, Syrian and German specialists concerned with questions about ‘Refugees and Theatre’. It will tackle questions about “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?


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 gathered together another collective, who will bring it’s own performances to life. It is made up of actors and actresses from various countries, all of them forced to flee their homes because of war, political repression, or fear of persecution. This theatre is a unique model of new, modern society, whose main aim is the refugees’ integration into their new society.



Dad Will Sort it Out (Papa razbirotsa)


19.00, 25th September

As part of the festival programme, The Theatre of Displaced People will show its first premier of this season, a documentary piece: Dad will Sort it Out. Natalya Nikolaevna was a heroine in Where is the East? and her story prompted the theatre collective to create her own separate performance. When she was in her fifties she entered the Luhansk Academy of Art to study as a Puppet Theatre director.  She established her own theatre-studio together with disabled children, but was forced to leave everything as a result of the military conflict in the East of the country. She escaped to Kyiv, where she now lives and is trying to recreate her own puppet theatre.


Playwright - Oksana Savchenko

Directors - Liza Smith, Alik Sardarian

Idea - Georg Genoux                                                                             



Displaced Kids


16-24th September

Performance 17.00, 24th 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 aim of this kids programme is to help familiarize them with their new conditions through theatre projects. As part of the programme we have organised a week of exercises for the children with playwrights, actors and artists. The week will end on the 24th September at 17.00 with “The Celebration Performance” where the children will show the culmination of their week’s work.


Project supervisor: Aleksandr Fomenko.



In addition to The Stage of Displaced People’s programme, The Theatre of Displaced people will perform Product (Tovar) and Captivity (Plen) at Gogolfest 2016, the debut works of Alik Sardaryan and Alisa Kovalenko in Ukrainian theatre.


Product (Tovar)

20.00, 23rd September


Author, director, creator: Alik Sardarian

With the participation of Maxim Nakonechnyi


Are you tired of depressing news stories? You don’t want to hear or talk more about the war? You want to be distracted by something lighter? Then you can fuck off to another theatre.


Product is about the unbearable - about deaths during war. At war no one dies to the sound of beautiful music with the heroic cry “Glory to Ukraine” on their lips. Never again are they like their former selves, or will they return to their comfortable homes decorated with medals as films and adverts would have us believe. The reality is very different. This performance is based on the personal experience of the author.


This is Alik Sardarian’s debut in Ukrainian theatre as a director and actor. He was born in Kyiv and studied there before going on to begin a masters at the Higher School of Management in Warsaw. He served in an independent medical company of the Northern medical department.


For many Ukrainian critics and audience members this performance was pivotal for Ukrainian theatre during the 2015/2016 seasons. The performance toured in April 2016 at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin.




Captivity (Plen)


18.00, 23rd September

A screening of the premier of Captivity, which took place at the Golden Gate Theatre in Kyiv June 2016, followed by a discussion with the authors Alisa Kovalenko and Georg Genoux as well as the curator Alexey Karachinsky.


She entered captivity in a taxi, when separatists at the Ukrainian Military checkpoint into Donetsk surrounded her. This took place just a few days after the so-called “Referendum”…


An account of captivity which reconstructs the personal story of Alisa Kovalenko, who fell captive at the hands of fighters in Donbass in May 2014. Minute by minute the performance recreates the tale of the days she spent in captivity, reconstructing the details of her life in incarceration. For the first time, Alisa Kovalenko, a documentary filmmaker, shares with extraordinary frankness her experiences with director Georg Genoux, who through reconstructing those days accesses different parts of her experiences.


Premiered 27 May as part of the “Dreiländer” festival in the Gerhart Hauptmann-Theater Görlitz-Zittau (Zittau, Germany), and also on the 30 and 31st May at the Golden Gate Theatre in Kyiv.




Anastasia Pugach, Press Secretary, Theatre of Displaced People





The Theatre of Displaced People was founded in Ukraine in January 2015. It develops projects and social initiatives in Kyiv and other regions in Ukraine, mostly in the east. Their work also focuses on creating interdisciplinary dialogue about democracy. In October 2016, The Theatre of Displaced People opened their own space at the Dovzhenko Filmstudios in Kyiv, supported by the Goethe Institute and the German Embassy. They work with young artists and psychologists from Ukraine and other European countries to develop theatre, art and social projects with internal refugees from eastern Ukraine. They generate new perspectives on displaced people by working together to create live theatre projects. In 2015 and 2016 the Theatre of Displaced People’s projects toured around various European cities and participated in international festivals.


In December 2015 The Theatre of Displaced People was selected as the “main achievement of Ukrainian Theatre in 2015” by the newspaper



Information about the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR)

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is an international organization that is aimed at saving lives, protecting human rights and building a better future for refugees, internally displaced and stateless people. The UN refugee agency is coordinating international efforts in the field of the protection of people who have been forced from their homes by conflict and persecution. The organization provides vital assistance in providing housing, household goods, and also helps to protect fundamental human rights. The Agency is working to create solutions that will allow people to have a safe place that they can call "home", and where they can build a better future.


Contact Information:

Nina Sorokopud, Advisor on Public Information






Foto by Ute Langkafel




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