Wednesday, 14 June 2023
Liverpool’s Eurovision legacy continues as Unity Theatre make their Ukrainian Arts Festival available to watch online, for free, as part of Refugee Week 2023
A Place of Hope Online: A Celebration of Ukrainian Theatre and Stories
Mon 19th – Sun 25th June
Part of Refugee Week 2023
- For Refugee Week 2023, Unity will host an online version of their celebrated EuroFestival programme A Place of Hope – featuring world-premiere theatre productions, sold-out performances and exclusive events created by Ukrainian refugee artists living in the UK.
- The programme, commissioned by Culture Liverpool for Eurovision and created by award-winning Ukrainian theatre makers Yurii Radionov and Shorena Shoniia, features four filmed productions and events that audiences across the globe can watch for free throughout Refugee Week.
- The online programme includes critically-acclaimed play UKRLAND and the highly-anticipated, world-premiere production Maria, which opened to sold out audiences at Unity last month and was featured across global press, BBC Newsnight and its own feature-length BBC documentary Playing for Ukraine.
- Bonus features for the online programme include a collection of Ukrainian Poetry and Music and a special In Conversation Event featuring Ukrainian artists, actor David Morrisey and other special guests.
- All four films will be available with both English and Ukrainian subtitles, at a Pay What You Can rate. 100% of proceeds will be split evenly between City of Goodness – helping Ukrainian civilians affected by war – and to support Unity in continuing to create and tell powerful stories like those of Ukrainian refugee artists.
For Refugee Week 2023, Unity is continuing the legacy of Eurovision and Liverpool’s relationship with Ukraine by presenting an online version of their acclaimed Ukrainian arts festival programme A Place of Hope – featuring world-premiere theatre and special events created by Ukrainian refugee artists living in the UK.
Commissioned by Culture Liverpool for EuroFestival and developed by award-winning Ukrainian theatre makers Yurii Radionov and Shorena Shoniia, A Place of Hope Online features four filmed productions and events that audiences across the globe can watch for free throughout Refugee Week.
The online programme includes the digital premiere of Yurii and Shorena’s critically acclaimed play UKRLAND and the highly-anticipated, world-premiere production of Maria, as featured on BBC Newsnight, BBC World, and the subject of BBC Documentary Playing for Ukraine.
Maria, which opened to sold-out audiences at Unity last month as part of the city’s Eurovision Cultural Festival, has been created by a cast of seven Ukrainian refugee actors currently living in the UK because of the war. The brand-new show created especially for EuroFestival, combines traditional Ukrainian folk music with contemporary dance, lighting, and innovative theatre to tell the forgotten story of ordinary Ukrainians who were caught up in the tragedy of Holodomor.
The first ever show to be made entirely by Ukrainians in the UK, Maria had its highly anticipated stage premiere as part of A Place of Hope and will now be available to watch internationally as part of Refugee Week, to meet unprecedented global demand following the in-venue run and airing of the documentary.
“Astonishing and moving. It’s such an important story [Holodomor]. Essential Theatre” – David Morrissey, Actor and Human Rights Ambassador
The digital version of A Place of Hope will also include two bonus features. As well as the two productions, audiences can enjoy a moving collection of Ukrainian Poetry and Music performed live by the cast of Maria, or dive deeper into the history of Holdomor and life as a Ukrainian performer with an hour-long In Conversation Event featuring the cast of Maria, actor David Morrisey and other special guests.
All four films will be available with both English and Ukrainian subtitles and can be watched at a Pay What You Can rate. Unity recommend a donation of £8 per film, with all proceeds split evenly between charities helping Ukrainian civilians affected by war and to support Unity in continuing to create and tell powerful stories like those of Ukrainian refugee artists.
Gordon Millar, Artistic Director and CEO of Unity says:
“We’re delighted to be able to share our EuroFestival Ukrainian arts programme ‘A Place of Hope’ with global audiences and mark Refugee Week 2023 in such a profound and impactful way. Since the programme closed at Unity last month following sold-out audiences and critical-acclaim, we’ve been overwhelmed by requests from all over the world to make the films available online so that more people can educate themselves on the history of Ukraine and the impact of the on-going war on Ukrainians.
This announcement today, that we are making all shows available to watch for free to continue our relationship with Ukrainian theatre, couldn’t be timelier as the UK House of Commons just last month voted in favour of recognising Holodomor – the subject of Maria – as an act of genocide against the country’s people.
We’re incredibly grateful to Yurii Radionov, Shorena Shoniia and the seven Ukrainian refugee actors who created this exceptional programme of theatre and performance for Liverpool, and we’re thrilled more people will be able to witness such essential, innovative storytelling. It is a wonderful legacy of the powerful cultural programme pulled together for Eurovision by Culture Liverpool.”
Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan, said: “A Place of Hope was a powerful EuroFestival commission and we’re so pleased it’s getting a second lease of life online.
“When Liverpool was named Eurovision Host City 2023, we were clear in our ambition that Ukraine would be the thread that ran through the programme. The Unity Theatre projects delivered on this and more, becoming a hub of Ukrainian culture for two weeks with moving, engaging and thought-provoking works. It’s great that a wider audience will now be able to appreciate these impactful and considered pieces.”
Business Development Manager, Unity
About Refugee Week:
Refugee Week is an annual festival that celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of people seeking sanctuary. It’s been running in the UK since 1998 and is always the week of World Refugee Day (20 June).
This year’s theme is ‘Compassion’. Within our own experiences are all the tools we need to be compassionate, not just to ourselves and those in our immediate circles, but to all our human neighbours and our one shared home, planet earth. We invite you to take part in Refugee Week 2023 and show us how arts and culture can help widen our circles of compassion. We cannot wait to see all of your creative responses!
People are invited to celebrate Refugee Week 2023 by doing one or more of our Simple Acts, which are simple, easy actions everyone can do to stand with refugees and bring people together in their communities. We will be promoting one action per day throughout the week. Find them here.
Thousands of people are expected to join the Refugee Week 2023 celebrations at hundreds of arts, cultural and educational activities across the UK.
Refugee Week is a partnership project coordinated by Counterpoints Arts. For more information on Refugee Week and Simple Acts, visit the Refugee Week website.