Social Theatre in Russia

Artist: Vmeste

The Theatre project “Vmeste” (Russian for “Together”) was born in 2012 in St.Petersburg, Russia. Since then, the organisation has been involved in various social-theatre projects and promotes the very idea of social theatre in Russia and worldwide. Vmeste create interdisciplinary, participative and site-specific performances. The artists generate theatre that talks about important social issues, and uses theatre in education.

 

Vmeste is one of very few groups that uses the forum-theatre method in Russia. It co-creates forum-theatre pieces for and with human-rights organizations, students, schoolchildren and migrant children. Moreover, Vmeste has devised and produced six documentary performances inside and outside of theatre, working with museums and circus, non-actors and communities.

 

Double Eagle (the coat of arms of Russia) is a symbol for the eternal question about the place of Russia in the world. Is Russia a part of European civilization (the West) or does it really more belong the the East? This debate started with Czar Peter the Great in the 18th century. He turned the entire country to the West and built St. Petersburg as a window to Europe for Russia. Meanwhile, Europe lacks detailed knowledge about what is going on in Russia nowadays and tends to consider Russia as not being a part of European civilization.

 

The project itself is a documentary art research. It is based on interviews with Russian citizens: the ones who left (for reasons related to politics, work or love) and the ones who stayed (either supporting Russia's current political strategy, wishing to change the situation, or those who do not care). A big source of inspiration for this project were diaries, other texts and art work by Russian exiles who moved from Russia after the October Revolution and during the Soviet times to the West looking for a better life.

 

AT ICAF, Vmeste will present the Double Eagle research in the form of site-specific immersive theatre performance-workshop about emigration. Their goal is to create a space to talk about West and East and modern relationships between Russia and Europe by creating an immersive interactive theatre experience for European and Russian audiences, which includes them into discussion about Double Eagle. Vmeste hopes that its work will provide Russian and European participants with a better understanding of each other by exploring their stereotypical views of one another. In the workshop participants will immerse themselves in a performative experience that will feel like a real integration activity for immigrants coming into Europe as new arrivals.

 

ADA MUKHINA is the founder of the Theatre project Vmeste. She is a stage director, theatre pedagogue and art curator. Most recently, she authored, directed and performed in the Double Eagle project.MARIA KOLOSOVA is Vmeste's general manager and a theatre pedagogue and stage director in her own right. She also performs in Double Eagle.NATASHA BORENKO is a playwright and theatre pedagogue with Vmeste and author of many documentary and social theatre projects.

Thursday 30 March 15.30
Friday 31 March 15.30

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