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23 March 2022

Yesterday in Kyiv- Playback Theatre

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This World Theatre Day we’re turning the spotlight to the work of others and the power of theatre at the darkest times. One of our Wildworks collective has recently been researching Playback Theatre and has sent us an account from one of their Ukrainian performers currently in Kyiv that we have kindly been given permission to share.



Yesterday in Kyiv, from three actors of Ukraine Playback Theatre – enacting people’s stories on the spot, keeping humanity alive.


We went from our theatre down to the subway – “people from the upper world” – one little girl called us. We didn’t know what was waiting for us, but we knew we were supposed to be there. It wasn’t a performance in the usual sense of the word, but what times, what stories.


And for adults we played their stories, for the children we brought games. We’ll come back to share more games so the kids can play between themselves when we’re not around.

There were stories about before and now, about family, support, about 5 blankets mum wraps around the children, about a dad who keeps calm from above. There was hope.


I was surprised that even the little ones had such a community. They, children from 3 to 14 years old, hold on to each other, help each other, support each other, try to solve some household issues together without involving adults. This is how our kids are growing up. The children of the underground.


“How long have you been here?”


– 8 days…

– 12 days…

– 2 weeks…


– I don’t remember. All the war.


And after the performance the children continued to play our games, smile, the older ones were able to cry on the shoulders of those who are above the world, because they can’t cry here, here we have to support each other and stay warm at night.


I saw their eyes before and after we met and knew we would come again. We, actors and souls, have something to do here. During the war, use all your skills for the benefit of the people, support and teamwork. Together we are power and will.


I dream that the people of the underground would soon come out of the shelter and breathe spring under a safe open sky. And if we can support them now and let their voices sound, let them roar into the sky, for eternity, into history.


My fellow Playback actors -with hot hearts, let’s unite and do our job.



Outside of the studio

Brierley Hill – These things I know