4 June 2018: a reading of Natalia Vorozhbit’s play about the war in Ukraine

At 6pm-7.30pm on 4th of June 2018, Sputnik will present a reading of Ukrainian-speaking Elephants by Natalia Vorozhbit (Ukraine), translated by Sasha Dugdale, at UCL’s Festival of Culture in London, the first presentation of this play in England.

The cast is: Sophia Kayes, James Robinson, Géhane Strehler.
Directed by: Noah Birksted-Breen.

The reading will take place at approx. 7pm as part of the session called Women Writing Suffrage, curated by Professor Andrei Rogatchevski (see below).
Location: The Wilkins Building, IAS Common Ground, at University College London, Gower Street in central London.

To book this free event, please visit the UCL website.

An introduction about Ukrainian-speaking Elephants by Noah Birksted-Breen:

“I will be directing a reading of a new Ukrainian play which hasn’t been seen in England before – Ukrainian-speaking Elephants by Natalya Vorozhbyt, translated by Sasha Dugdale. In the UK, mainstream news has stopped showing images of the war in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014. So most people have simply forgotten about it or even think that the war is over – but it continues to this day. This play is a reminder that Ukraine and Russia continue to fight on a daily basis, with growing numbers of casualties – a proxy geopolitical conflict between the West and Russia. I think the main strength of the play, however, is to help audiences to imagine what it means to live in the shadow of war. None of the protagonists are combatants. Vorozhbyt shows how a protracted war ruins relationships between lovers, between children and parents, between relatives and friends. The inner worlds of civilians are made fragile, non-combatants become isolated from each other – because of the instability of daily life when there’s a war being fought within their country’s borders.”

Women Writing Suffrage | 18:00 – 19:30 | Wilkins Building, IAS Common Ground
Professor Andrei Rogatchevski, UCL Institute of Advanced Studies
This session marks the 100th anniversary of universal suffrage in Eastern Europe, with a focus on Russia and Ukraine, where women gained their voting rights a little earlier than elsewhere (in 1917). Join us to uncover the extraordinary lives of female Russian or Ukrainian authors and activists, most of whom went to jail or exile for their convictions. We’ll learn about, amongst others, Larisa Reisner, considered to be one of the finest writers of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Pussy Riot punk band, founded in Moscow. The evening will conclude with an England-first performance, by members of the London-based Sputnik theatre company, of the one-act play This Elephant Speaks Ukrainian by Natalia Vorozhbyt, regarded as the leading Ukrainian writer of her generation. Professor Andrei Rogatchevski is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies. He is currently working on a monograph about the formation of the National Bolshevik Party.

  • About Us

    Sputnik is a British theatre company dedicated to sourcing, translating and producing new Russian drama for British audiences.

    There are several strands to Sputnik's work including:
    - producing new Russian plays in the UK
    - programming and organising the Russian Theatre Festival in London
    - developing Russian playwriting through commissions and exchanges
    - outreach work bringing drama to disadvantaged young people
    - cultural events with Russian literature and music

    Why Russia?
    Russia has a history of theatrical innovation. Russian playwrights have played a significant role in shaping modern European theatre.

    Contemporary playwriting in Russia has been going through an important and innovative period since 1991 with a prolific output by predominantly young dramatists.

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