The legendary theater festival “Melpomena of Tavria” returns to its native Kherson. This year, the anniversary program will take place from September 8 to 16, and the opening will take place simultaneously in 25 theaters. The president of the festival, the head of the Kherson Regional Academic Music and Drama Theater named after Kulish Oleksandr Kniga told about this at the press conference “XXV International Theater Festival “Melpomena of Tavria”: details of the event”. Screenings, in particular, will take place in Odesa, Mykolaiv, Lviv, Kyiv, Kherson and Novaya Kakhovka (online). The slogan of this year’s festival is #мы_вдома. In de-occupied Kherson, festival events will be held in a safe shelter, which is not announced in advance. Now the theater plays there, as the premises of the Kherson Theater are not safe in the conditions of constant shelling in the region. “The art hub in which our theater works now is safe. We try not to advertise the performances in advance. We publish the time and venue in groups where there are only verified people. But we simply cannot not work – we see how much it is needed – by the military and residents , who remained in the city,” says Oleksandr Kniga. Oleksandr Kniga told about Melpomene Tavria XXV. Photo: Melpomena Tavria’s Facebook One of the festival venues in 2023 will be the Vasylka Theater in Odesa, with which a memorandum was signed. In particular, a new play by the Kherson Theater will be shown there. “We understand that in Kherson we cannot host 70 groups that would gladly come in peacetime. Therefore, we decided that the bases will be in Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Lviv and Kyiv. which will be at the fest are the Ivano-Frankivsk stand-up comedy “What men are silent about” with Oleksiy Hnatkovskyi (the performer of the role of Oleksa Dovbush in the film “Dovbush”. – ed.), performances of the Maly Theater and the premiere of our theater “The Sparrowhawk” based on the play “Bad Roads” by Natalie Vorozhbyt,” said Oleksandr Kniga. Read also: What is “The Fifth Kharkiv” and why does it need Yuriy Shevelyov This year, more than 80 applications were submitted to participate in “Melpomena Tavria” – 68 theaters were accepted into the competition. The program is different from previous years – there has been a significant increase in performances based on the works of Ukrainian playwrights. Anastasia Larina, the program director of the festival, drew attention to this. “At the opening, there will be two Zhadans on one day – performances based on the play “The Bread Truce” and two “Stolen Happiness” by Franko. There will be two “Aeneids” at the closing of the festival. Previously, it was not possible to have the same performances in our theater at the same time, or in principle in the festival program – we tried to do everything diverse – but now we take a cross-section of Ukrainian theaters. A lot of Ukrainian drama this year – modern and classical. Despite the fact that there is a war, there are many romantic plays, plays with hope for the future,” says Anastasia Larina. She says that even the temporarily occupied Nova Kakhovka will be a part of the festival – the participating performance has already been recorded and will be shown on the YouTube channel. “They want to show that Nova Kakhovka is Ukraine,” says Anastasia Larina about the city from which she comes. About the “Melpomena of Tavria” festival is an international theater festival founded in 1999, which takes place annually in Kherson. In 2022, it was held abroad for the only time Kherson – due to the temporary occupation of the city. During its 22 years of existence, about 450 performances were performed with the participation of more than 200 theaters. The purpose of “Melpomena Tavria” is the popularization of art, the exchange of experience between creative teams, and the familiarization of the audience with the most interesting performances of theaters from different regions of Ukraine and other countries. As part of the competition, the expert council recognizes the best actors, scenography, musical and directing design. The winners are awarded with diplomas. In addition, traditional for “Melpomena of Tavria” are a street procession, a theater cabbage roll, gala concerts dedicated to the opening and closing of the festival, green zone and much more. “Melpomena of Tavria” in 2022 The XXIV International Theater Festival “Melpomena of Tavria” took place from June 10 to 19, 2022. The slogan of the XXIV festival is: “Melpomena is the voice of the Kherson Region”. The organizers announced the holding of the festival on the previously scheduled dates in order to support the people of Kherson who were under occupation at the time, as well as those who were forced to leave their homes. “They wanted to send a signal to those people who were under occupation. That their Ukrainian theater is not surrendered – and the theater is not a building, but the people who fill it,” commented the president of the festival, Oleksandr Kniga. For the first time in its years of existence, the international theater festival changed its format – in 2022, the participating theaters did not take performances to Kherson, but showed them at their venues. Performances of individual theaters that could not perform live (among them the Kherson Kulish Theater itself) were published on the theater’s official YouTube channel. Each participating theater allocated a certain number of tickets for temporarily displaced persons who were in their city. Artists of the Kherson Kulish Theater, who left their homes, attended festival performances as special guests. Theaters from 11 countries of the world were involved: Ukraine, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Romania, France, and for the first time – Japan and the USA, and “Melpomena of Tavria” was also hospitably hosted by the French festival “Festival in Extremis”!
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