Culture In Depth, 01/08/2019

Kharkiv Students’ Theaters Cooperate with Germany

Within just a few years, German students and directors have actively worked with various students’ theaters in Kharkiv.

The prime example of this cooperation is “Treffpunkt,” performed by fourth-year students of Kharkiv Kotlyarevsky National University of Arts, Maysternya 55 theater, and the Department of Performance Studies of the Hamburg University, Wheels theater. Another theatrical performance “Traum vom Fliegen” was staged by students from Kharkiv and Odesa with support of Vera Tersteegen and Kerstin Daljo from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and director Katharina Miegel, Berlin.

“Treffpunkt” performance was directed by professors of acting skills at the theater department of the University of Arts Olha Krivosheyeva and Maria Vaneyeva. It was played on March 12 at the Kharkiv Young Spectators’ Theater. Cooperation between Maysternya 55 and Wheels theaters started in 2014. Collaboration with the current course of Maysternya 55 began in November 2018, when students from Kharkiv went to Hamburg to work on “The End of the World” play by Y. Soyfer. In March 2019, young people met in Kharkiv to perform “Treffpunkt.”

The performance was based on the musical film “Ball” by Italian director Ettore Scola, 1983. The troupe consisted of 45 people divided into four groups to perform the production. Each group had an equal number of Ukrainian and German students, each had a director and worked in a specific genre such as comedy and surrealism. The teams were tasked with creating an episode for 10-15 minutes duration. The directors compiled those episodes into a full-fledged performance.

“The project lasted one week during March 6-12. A friendly atmosphere prevailed on the stage. The rehearsals were held from 9 a.m. until the evening but there was no feeling of tiredness because it was lively cooperation. The play was performed at the University of Arts and after several rehearsals, it was transferred to the big stage of the Young Spectators’ Theater,” recalls Ilia Karikov, the fourth-year student of the Kharkiv National Kotlyarevsky University of Arts.

Young actors wrote the play’s final song themselves. It all started with a spontaneously created duet of young guitarists, Ilia Karikov, Kharkiv, and Konstantin Buchholz, Hamburg, which was joined later by Mykyta Petrosian from Maysternya 55 and Lisa Wagner and Philip Steffan from Wheels.

According to Ilia, while working together young people developed close relations. After the rehearsals, they spent a lot of time together. Kharkiv students guided the guests around the city, played games, sang songs, and also performed “Jesus Christ Superstar” rock opera for their foreign friends. Despite the fact that young people spoke different languages, English, German, Russian and Ukrainian, there was no language barrier. Artistic people do not need interpreters as art speaks for itself.

The creative cooperation between Maysternya 55 and Wheels continues. Theaters are already preparing new joint projects.

In another partnership, between June 30 – July 6, eight students from Kharkiv and two students from Odesa universities took part in “Traum vom Fliegen” street performance at the site of Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. This project has already been presented in other countries several times but for the first time in Ukraine.

Young people were united not only by exploring of German culture but also by their love for theatrical art.

“Previously, I had no experience of participation in performances. But ever since I am pleased to attend Kharkiv theatre plays, I decided to take part in this workshop. I thought it would be a plastic performance and these expectations were met. There was really a minimum of text and a maximum of movements. The play was based on aphorisms about the flight. Rehearsals took place every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The most memorable was trust training which taught us how to work in a team. Our team worked as a coordinated mechanism. During this time, we have become good friends and will continue to communicate in the future. If there is something else like that, I will definitely take part in it. Sometimes unexpected offers give you the opportunity to take off!” Says the third-year student of the faculty of Interior Design of the Kharkiv Academy of Design and Arts Anastasia Yefimenko.

In the future, Kharkiv is looking forward to new exciting projects and cooperation with Germany.

Text: Antuanella Adamkevych

Photos: Samir Huluiev,