East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) supports the
development of contemporary performing arts (dance and theatre)
in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

DESANT: Theatre Laboratory in Ukraine, 2nd session – "Why think?" Lviv, November 2014

DESANT: Theatre Laboratory in Ukraine, 2nd session – "Why think?" Lviv,  November 2014


International Theatre Laboratory "Why think?"
Міжнароднa Театральна Лабораторія “Навіщо думати?”


The second session of the Theatre Laboratory was organized together with EEPAP strategic partner organizations from Lviv: Art Workshop Drabyna, and The First Scene of New Drama „Drama.UA”, with a cooperation of Theatre Platform based in Kyiv.  It took place in Lviv, Ukraine between 17 and 23 of November 2014.


During the autumn session of the Laboratory in Lviv we dealt with the medium of theatre. We explored its capacity to communicate experience and thoughts of the creators themselves - unrestrained by a finite, ready-made "artistic" form. At the same time all the discussions, texts, as well as the final performance - while focusing on theatre and the role of the artist - also discussed the social and political situation in Ukraine, the war, the country and individual and collective responsibility.


Many texts were created during the workshop, among them the "the pissed monologues", focusing on the worst personal theatrical experience of the last half-year, a series of curses and compliments, a set of the most pestering questions about theatre and the place of the creator; a list of imagined "critical projects" that could be carried out in Ukraine; auto presentations of the participants which mix truth and fiction.


The intensive work done during the laboratory was concluded by a public performance of "Why think", staged at the First Scene of New Drama "Drama.UA". This "act of public thinking" was an extremely demanding experience, both for the creators and the audience: a group of theatre producers (not actors) performed with no safeguards - no ready script, no closed structure or fixed time framework. We abandoned the hierarchical division of roles: there was no leader (a tutor, director or scriptwriter) to oversee the realisation of a plan, and there were no executors. The performers employed various materials created during the workshop (texts, video recordings, scenes of improvised discussions), but their main objective was not to recreate the prepared scenes and "numbers", but to uncover the process of thinking which takes place here and now, before the audience - the risk of it being ineffective, insufficiently drafted, imprecise included. This gave rise to a unique theatrical event: a two-and-a-half hour, polyphonic expression which thematizes the experiences of the participants of the Laboratory - as artists and citizens working in a specific cultural, social and political context.


The Lviv session was organized as part of the DESANT educational project in Ukraine. DESANT has been carried out by the East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) since 2012 and is addressed at artists, critics and theoreticians of performing arts in the Eastern Partnership countries. The DESANT activities are rooted in local reality and related to a specific socio-political context; they combine workshop elements with theoretical reflection and are created in close cooperation with partner organisations.

The activities of DESANT in the years 2013-2015 took place mostly in Ukraine. This choice naturally followed from the need to continue projects initiated in previous years, but first and foremost was a response to the socio-political situation in Ukraine and specific needs signalled by our partners. The events of the 2013/2014 Ukrainian Revolution, the subsequent annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in the east of the country made the need to cooperate with Ukrainian artists all the more pressing. All involved curators and artists were acutely aware that the critical situation in the country requires deep reflection, a confrontation of views and ideas, a joint action to reform social and cultural life, a dialogue between artists, theoreticians and audiences from various regions of the country.


Consultations with EEPAP Ukrainian partners and co-organisers led to the decision that DESANT activities should take a form of an intense laboratory work to increase the effectivity of the meetings and increase their impact (also in time). In accordance with these guidelines, a series of workshops carried out in previous years was followed in 2014 and 2015 by the thematic working sessions of the International Theatre Laboratory.


The Laboratory does not aim to treat the participants as students, or passive consumers of knowledge. Instead, it engages them in the realisation process of specific artistic projects. Working groups formed during the meetings work on specific performative projects to be presented later in public and independent institutions in different regions of Ukraine. The most important aim of the cyclical meetings is to facilitate joint intellectual work that could assist in finding alternatives for the anachronistic and oppressive theatrical system that dominates in Ukraine; to develop new models of artistic and organisational action and to foster creative and theoretical reflection on current events.


Curator of educational project DESANT: Joanna Wichowska

Idea and coordination of the 2nd session of the Laboratory: Joanna Wichowska (EEPAP), Oksana Dudko (Art Workshop Drabyna)

Coordination: Oksana Dudko and Viktoria Shvydko (Drama.UA), Joanna Wichowska (EEPAP)

Partners: Art Workshop Drabyna, The First Scene of New Drama „Drama.UA” / LvivTheatre Platform / Kiev

Instructors: Marcin Cecko, Joanna Wichowska

Production: Daria Odija (EEPAP), Oksana Danczuk, Viktoria Shvydko, Olha Muhina (Art Workshop Drabyna)

Participants: Artemiy Anischchenko, theatre director, director of the “Mrij Dim” festival (Pryluky, Chernihiv region); Pavlo Arie, playwright (Lviv); Olena Apchel, theatre director, lecturer at Kharkiv State Academy of Culture, documentary theatre researcher (Kharkiv); Ihor Bilyts, theatre director, founder of actors’ studio BilytsArtCentre (Kyiv); Sashko Brama, playwright, theatre criticism student (Lviv); Iryna Garets, playwright, founder of Poltava Theatre Laboratory (Poltava); Den Gumennyi, playwright, journalist, (Kirovohrad–Kyiv); Liubov Ilnytska, literary manager at Les Kurbas Theatre in Lviv (Lviv); Tetiana Kytsenko, playwright, journalist (Kyiv); Yulia Maslak, theatre director, lecturer at National Karpenko-Karyi University (Kyiv); Maria Mostova, student of Catholic University (Lviv);

Oles Pavliutin, theatre director (Cherkasy); Anton Romanov, theatre director (Simferopol, Crimea, currently a refugee); Rosa Sarkisian, theatre director (Kharkiv); Margaryta Shyn, theatre director, author of social projects (Oleksandria, Kirovohrad region); Valentyna Yeremenko, theatre director (Kyiv), Viktor Sobiianskyi, theatre critic (Kyiv) Nadia Sokolenko theatre critic (Kyiv), Iryna Chuzhinova, theatre critic (Kyiv), Pavel Yurov, theatre director (Kyiv)

Selected images here.

Links to images:

International Theatre Workshop "Why do we need to think?". Work in progress / Міжнародні театральні майстер-класи "Навіщо думати?" Робоче

International Theatre Workshop "Why do we need to think?". Presentation, November 23/ Міжнародні театральні майстер-класи "Навіщо думати?" відкритий показ/акт колективного мислення “Навіщо думати?” https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.908635619147481.1073741864.308086562535726&type=1