Kyiv-based theatres team up to stage a play for children in Mariupol

Joint theatrical team unites efforts with a humanitarian organization to present musical performance for children in Mariupol.

On December 20 musical play for children “How Cossacks defeated the Dragon” was staged twice at the Mariupol house of culture (community arts center) “Molodizhny”. The play was brought to Mariupol by the joint equip of several Kyiv-based theatres in cooperation with Caritas Ukraine. The hall’s capacity is about 500 seats, which means up to one thousand children and parents were able to see it. Admission was free. Actors and organizers of the event revealed more details speaking via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) in the framework of UCMC’s project “Spokesperson of peaceful life” supported by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The equip numbers 10 persons including five actors, sound director, lighting technician, property master and other technical staff. “Actors are a join team of artists from various Kyiv-based theatres,” said Olena Hrebenyuk, opera singer, soloist of the Kyiv municipal opera and ballet youth theatre. “It is great that we have so many people who feel the spiritual need to share their joy,” the artist added.

Caritas Ukraine helped organize the performance. They also made sure that the city residents get informed, the organization asked local authorities to assist, posters were placed at schools as well as Caritas psychologists who are working with local families joined the awareness campaign. “We made each and every effort so that the more children possible are able to attend the play and recall what joy is as there’s so little of it around,” said priest Rostyslav Sprynyuk, director of Caritas Mariupol. “It is of special importance on the St. Nicolas Day, as he embodies love, kindness and first of all enlightenment. The visit of the theatre to the city is also an act of enlightenment,” the priest added. He also said it is important that the play presented is Ukrainian.

Olena Hrebenyuk said that the performance is just the first move. “Should there be such a possibility, we will keep cooperating with Caritas and staging plays for both adults and children,” the singer said. “Financial difficulties can be overcome, it is crucial that people keep their spirit high,” Hrebenyuk added.

Rostyslav Sprynyuk noted that over the last years the city is experiencing a true outburst of cultural initiatives, namely the ones that have as their target audience internally displaced, children affected by war, children from troubled families, orphans as well as disabled children.

Odarka Bordun, communications manager at Caritas Ukraine, said that over the past two years the organization’s volunteers provided help to over 500 persons affected by combat actions in eastern Ukraine. “These activities include humanitarian assistance, consultancy and cultural projects. The play is yet another example of how one may join and help. St. Nicolas would have to be our principal patron as he is helping those in need,” Bordun said.