JUNE 2019

Kharkiv International Theatre Festival:
“1919-2019: Kulish. Kurbas. Shakespeare.”

In 1919, groundbreaking director Les Kurbas began work on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

In the 1920s, Kurbas and playwright Mykola Kulish were at the cutting edge of theatrical innovation across Europe.

In 2019, 100 years later, Ukrainian and British theatre companies will come together in Kharkiv to celebrate the creative conversation between Kulish, Kurbas and Ukrainian-language Shakespeare.

The 5-day festival in June 2019 will feature:


Inspired by the theatre of the ‘Garrotted Renaissance’ will re-explore the work of Kulish and Kurbas, who is well-known for his avant-garde productions of Shakespeare:

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet | Teatr Na Zhukakh, Teatr Arabesky (Kharkiv)

Mykola Kulish’s Maklena | Night Train Theatre Company (UK)

Mykola Kulish’s And That’s How Huska Died | Kimnata T (Kharkiv)

Kulish: Dialogue Across Space and Time | Teatr Inakshe (Kharkiv)

Tastes of Renaissance Short Performances | 5 additional Kharkiv-based companies


• Free workshops and masterclasses will be held by British artists from Night Train for local students interested in theatre. Two types of workshops will be offered: puppetry and movement master classes, and English-through-theatre workshops. The festival will also include professional master classes between Ukrainian and British companies for in-person exchange of ideas and techniques in order to foster ties for future collaboration.

• Public talks and discussions will bring knowledge about the Garrotted Renaissance from academic ‘ivory towers’ into the public sphere.

• Portable mini-exhibition at the Kharkiv literature museum with information about Kulish, Kurbas and avant-garde Shakespeare in 1920s Ukraine.

• Outdoor performances in central Kharkiv will ensure that news of the festival reaches the broadest possible audiences. Festival highlights will be performed in central Kharkiv.

• Street art competition will bring together local artists to paint murals of Kulish, Kurbas and Shakespeare in the courtyard of Arabesky Theatre.