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Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Join us for a reading (in English) of excerpts from two new documentary plays by leading Ukrainian playwrights Anastasiia Kosodii and Kateryna Penkova. Commissioned by Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre and Birkbeck’s Institute for Gender and Sexuality, these texts exemplify the remarkable culture of defiance and resistance in Ukrainian political playwriting and demonstrate how theatre-makers are using their craft to speak out against the atrocities of Russia’s ongoing war.
In the eight years between the start of Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and the full-scale invasion in 2022, Ukraine witnessed an impressive boom in socially engaged theatre and political playwriting. These recent documentary plays by Anastasiia Kosodii and Kateryna Penkova exemplify the remarkable culture of defiance and resistance in Ukrainian political playwriting and demonstrate how theatre-makers are using their craft to speak out against the atrocities of Russia’s ongoing war.
These readings will be followed by a discussion with the playwrights together with Ukrainian theatre specialist, Molly Flynn (Birkbeck).
Narrating the War by Anastasiia Kosodii (Kyiv/Zaporizhzhia/Berlin)
A Marathon of Russian Roulette by Kateryna Penkova (Kyiv/Donetsk/Warsaw)
Both texts translated by Helena Kernan.
Content warning: These texts include graphic depictions of war-related violence and brutality. This event is recommended for audience members aged 16 and above.
Anastasiia Kosodii is a Ukrainian playwright, director, and one of the co-founders of Theater of Playwrights in Kyiv. Before the full-scale Russian invasion, Kosodii often worked with NGOs in eastern Ukraine in towns on the front line. Her international work includes projects at the Maxim Gorki Theater (Berlin) and Münchner Kammerspiele Theater (Munich) and the Royal Court Theatre (London).
Kateryna Penkova is a Ukrainian playwright from Donetsk. She is a graduate of the Kyiv State Academy of Performance and Circus Arts with a degree in acting. Her texts explore the topics of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the occupation of Crimea, violence and sexual harassment, postcolonialism, gender and politics. Her plays have frequently been shortlisted for the Drama.UA festival in Lviv and the Week of Contemporary Plays festival in Kyiv. Her play Pork was among the winners of the 2020 ‘Transmission.UA: Drama on the Move’ playwriting competition organized by the Ukrainian Institute (Kyiv). Kateryna is a co-founder of Ukraine’s Theatre and Playwrights and is currently based in Warsaw.
Molly Flynn is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Birkbeck, University of London. Her current research focuses on socially engaged theatre practice in Ukraine since the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014. Her 2019 book Witness onstage: Documentary theatre in twenty-first-century Russia has recently come out in paperback with Manchester University Press. In April 2019, Molly co-organised the international symposium Depicting Donbas: Creative and critical responses to the war in Ukraine, a series of events which brought artists and academics into dialogue to explore the role creative practices play in times of conflict.
A drinks reception will follow the event.
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