Ukrainian 1930s avant-garde taking the stage in London. Meet the team behind 'Maklena' and become part of the story, 17 May, 7pm

DATE: 17 May 2018

TIME: 7pm

VENUE: Church Hall of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, 21-22 Binney St, London, United Kingdom

ADMISSION: The event is free, but registration is required. Please click here to register.

Night Train Theatre Company is producing Maklena Grasa by Ukrainian playwright Mykola Kulish, translated into English for the first time by Maria Montague.

Maklena Grasa was Kulish’s final major work before he was executed during the Stalinist purges, which swept across Ukraine in the late 1930s. The play was performed only five times in 1933 before it was banned by the Soviet authorities and erased from Ukrainian culture. After more than eighty years, Night Train is developing a fresh interpretation of this classic Ukrainian play, marking its English-language premiere.

This event will feature short performances of extracts from the play, live music composed for the company's production of Maklena, and a talk on the play’s historical context given by Dr Rory Finnin, Director of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies and Head of Slavonic Studies Section at the University of Cambridge.

The event will be moderated by Ursula Woolley, Trustee of Ukrainian Institute London. It will be in English.

The presentation will include a screening of an original short animation video, produced for this project. 

The production company is looking to raise £3,000 through their online crowdfunding campaign in order to stage the full-length production of Maklena. Visit their crowdfunding page here and consider backing this exciting venture. 

Speakers' bios:

Maria Montague

Maria is a theatre director, translator and co-founder of Night Train Theatre Company. She completed a Master’s researching Ukrainian modernist theatre at the University of Cambridge. She has worked as the assistant director for the prominent directors Caroline Steinbeis (Edward II, Cambridge Arts Theatre, February 2017) and Nicholas Barter (Marlowe Showcase, Jermyn Street Theatre, November 2016). She has directed many productions at the ADC Theatre and Corpus Playroom in Cambridge, and she also co-wrote the documentary play The Summer Before Everything about the war in Ukraine, which was performed at the Cambridge Junction and the Oxford Playhouse Burton Taylor Studio in July 2016.

Maria says: "Night Train is dedicated to sharing compelling stories from around the world, and we are particularly drawn to the many works of Ukrainian literature that remain largely undiscovered outside Ukraine. Our current project is Maklena, which premiered as an abridged version at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2017. The production also had a sell-out run in London at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in September 2017. Following this 5-star debut, we are now looking for support to stage Maklena as a professional, full-length production.”

Dr Rory Finnin

Dr Rory Finnin directs the Ukrainian Studies programme at Cambridge and chairs the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES). He received his PhD (with distinction) in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He also holds Certificates from the Harriman Institute and from the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. In 2015 Finnin won a Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer from the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU), the representative body for all students at the University. Rory Finnin's primary research interest is the interplay of literature and national identity in Ukraine. He also studies Soviet Russian dissident literature, Turkish nationalist literature, and Crimean Tatar literature. His broader interests include nationalism theory, human rights discourse, and problems of cultural memory.