Displaced in Ukraine: trauma and identity through theatre. Screening and talk with Natalia Vorozhbyt and Samir Puri , 6:30pm

There are 1,7 million people displaced inside Ukraine as a result on the ongoing war in the east. Nearly all left behind relatives, jobs, property and memories. Their experiences received an expression through “The Theatre of Displaced People”, brought to life by a Ukrainian playwright Natalia Vorozhbyt, who has been spending lots of time on the war zone. “My Mykolayivka” is a moving account of a school shelling in a small village told my senior schoolchildren. At the event, Natalia Vorozhbyt will talk about what it is like to make theatre on the frontline with the people experiencing war first hand and about the scope for healing and empowerment in theatrical experience. Samir Puri, a Lecturer from King's College, London,  and former OSCE observer in eastern Ukriane will talk about a broader context of IDPs issues in Ukraine.



Date: 14 December, 2016

Time: 6:30pm

Venue: Europe House, 32 Smith Sq, London SW1P 3EU


The talk will be in Ukrainian and English. Interpreting will be provided. It will be moderated by Marina Pesenti, Director of the Ukrainian Institute, will be followed by a Q&A session.

The event is free but prior registration is required.


Speaker’s biography:

Natalya Vorozhbyt

Natalya Vorozhbyt is ne of Ukraine’s leading playwrights. Her work has been translated and staged internationally including at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre in London. Her 2015 documentary play ‘Voices from the Uprising’ is one of the most important works of reporting from witness at the heart of the Maidan revolution.




Samir Puri

Samir Puri is a Lecturer in the Department of War Studies. He holds a BA in History and Politics from Warwick University, an MA (distinction) in War Studies from King’s College London, and a PhD from Cambridge University. His doctoral dissertation examined different strategies for dealing with armed groups in Pakistan and Turkey.

He spent six years working for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2009-15). In 2014-15 he was seconded to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine. His duties involved patrolling in the field, and reporting on ceasefire violations and weapons withdrawals in line with the Minsk process.  



In the summer of 2014, Mykolayivka, a small town near Slavyansk in the Donetsk region,  was witness to and participant in hostilities. For a few days civilians had to hide in basements in order to survive the incessant bombardment. A few shells hit School No.3 and brought it to ruins. Thanks to volunteers, the school was re-built, and as the 1st of September arrived, its pupils sat at the desks as before. However, repairing the damage done to their minds turned out to be more complicated… 13 voices, 13 dramas, 13 hopes. School No. 3’s pupils, aged between 13 and 16, share with the audience their brilliant, open, deep monologues. These teenagers talk through the experience of surviving the harrowing summer of 2014, about their love for their home, their first love, their thoughts and plans for the future. It premiered in Mykolaivka in April 2015. In September “My Mykolaivka” was shown at GOGOLfest in Kyiv. On March, 16 it was performed in Konstanz (Germany). Children from Mykolaivka will stay there for a week to create a new performance with local German kids

Directors: Natalia Vorozhbyt and Georg Genoux.

Film: Lizza Kostirkina and Krystyna Lizogub


“The Theatre of Displaced People”

The Theatre of Displaced People is unique among Ukrainian  theatre  projects. It is not only a documentary theatre; it is a space for witnessing. Refugees from Donbass, volunteers, and military personnel returning from active warfare are its characters. The theatre does not use prepped texts and nor professional actors. It focuses on real people and true stories. The project was set up in August 2015 and in a matter of months was hailed  as a “Theatre Project of the Year”  by Ukrainian theatre  critics. The theatre tours extensively throughout Ukraine at featured at GOGOLfest in Kyiv and the DONKULT forum in Lviv. It also travelled to Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. Its current project, “Children and the War,” includes three performances in the towns near the frontline: Popasna, Mykovayivka and Slavyansk. The project is supported by Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives and Germany’s Goethe Institut. The theatre directors are Natalia Vorozhbyt and Georg Genoux, Germany.