Dance, drama and song born in the bomb shelters of Kyiv mark one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Written and performed by Hooligan Art Community
UK and European Tour, January – April 2023
On 24 February 2022, the full-scale Russian invasion brought war to all of Ukraine. Hooligan Art Community’s work was disassembled overnight, and its artists displaced. In May 2022 the company came together remotely from Germany where some of them had fled to, and from the bunkers in Kyiv where some sought safety they created bold new performances in extraordinary circumstances. Bunker Cabaret brings together music, poetry, dance and film in a powerful exploration of love versus totalitarianism, and the personal conflicts of making art in a time of war. Following early shows in London, Redruth, Eastleigh and Berlin between September and November 2022, the company return to mark the first anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine with special performances at Somerset House on 24th and 25th February providing an occasion to reflect, whilst highlighting the passion and resilience of independent Ukrainian artists.
By turns ironic, raw, funny and devastating, the performance starkly reveals the performers’ individual experiences of the war while communicating a shared humanity, creating beautiful moments of connection between artists and audiences. Two months after the invasion began, the situation in Ukraine allowed women from the company to travel to a residency in Germany, while two male members of the company remained in Ukraine, restricted by law from leaving the country. In spite of this, the male actors worked together in a bomb-shelter in Kyiv, developing new scenes which would become the inspiration for Bunker Cabaret.
Alongside the performances in London there will be a screening of films by Hooligan Art Community in partnership with the The Courtauld and Voices of Ukraine, as well as an accompanying booklet with contributions from authors and academics in London. Further London shows are scheduled for March and April at Arcola and Longfield Hall.
Hooligan Art Community co-founder and performer Danylo Shramenko said: “When we were reunited in the UK, we felt a responsibility to be a voice for Ukrainians, and for artists who cannot leave the country. Ukraine has a remarkable independent cultural scene, which we want to represent in the UK. Making new work together is a lifeline for us. This is the beginning of a new chapter for our company and our lives.”
Hooligan Art Community is an independent theatre company established in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2019. The group makes performances in non-traditional spaces that explore the dynamic relationship between actor and audience. The group has worked entirely outside of the state theatre system creating work that advocates for freedom of expression and equality.
The UK tour of Bunker Cabaret takes place as part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, designed jointly by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute, with additional funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Bunker Cabaret is produced in London by Andrea Ferran. In 2021-22, Andrea was British Council Resident Director at Ivano-Frankivsk National Theatre, Ukraine. Bunker Cabaret was developed at Somerset House, where Andrea is a member of Somerset House Exchange, and was devised and performed in the historic Lancaster Rooms. The Exchange is home to a diverse community of artists and companies working in the creative industries, and has been the first home and incubator for Hooligan Art Community in London.
The UK tour is co-produced by Hooligan Art Community and Mahogany Opera in collaboration with Andrea Ferran and imPOSSIBLE Producing. Mahogany Opera is a leading commissioner and producer of new opera and music theatre. They have worked with Hooligan Art Community since 2019, featuring them in Mahogany Opera’s Various Stages Festival in 2020. The two companies partnered on a UK/Ukraine Season project in Germany in 2022, supported by British Council and Ukrainian Institute.
imPOSSIBLE Producing is run by producers Gabby Vautier and Charlie Bunker. From their home in Cornwall they work locally, nationally and internationally investing in individuals and ideas and making things possible; theatre, events, festivals, ideas, conversations and change. They have been supporting Hooligan Art Community as Associate Producers and are privileged to be part of a group of producers helping the company share their work across the globe.
Bunker Cabaret was developed with support from Britten Pears Arts, 101 Outdoor Arts, Volta International Festival and Somerset House Exchange and funded by Urgent Action Fund and crowdfunding support.
Running Time: 75 mins (no interval) | Suitable for ages 12+
Director Peter Cant Lighting designer Natalka Perchyshyna
Video artist Liubov Sliusareva Costume designer Paul Kuraksin
Movement and Dramaturgical Consultant Mathis Kleinschnittger
Sam Kyslyi, Natalka Perchyshyna, Danylo Shramenko, Mirra Zhuchkova
18 January The Poly, Falmouth
20-22 January The Ladder, Redruth
2-3 February Schaubühne Lindenfels, Leipzig, Germany
10-12 February Dock 11, Berlin, Germany
24-25 February Somerset House
Lancaster Rooms, New Wing, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN
7.30pm | £22/£16/£12* Flexible Tickets, £8 for Ukraine nationals
2-3 March Theatre Royal, Waterford
The Mall, Waterford, Ireland, X91 HE9R
Ticket prices and times TBC
051 874402 | theatreroyal.ie/
Further dates to be announced
Film screening programme
18 February The Courtauld, London (film-screening programme), UK
Vernon Square campus, Lecture Theatre 2, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW
4.00pm | Tickets free, booking required