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photo by Margaret Morton

The Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema and Yara Arts Group present:

Yara Arts Group: Looking Back/ Moving Forward

Museum exhibition in Kyiv

February 25 to April 15, 2016
11:00 to 17:00, (daily, closed Tuesdays)
Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema
Lavrska 9, building 26, Kyiv

opening of exhibition at 18:00 on Thursday, February 25, 2016

Yara Arts Group is a resident company of the world-renown La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. Yara creates original theatre pieces by bringing together poetry, traditional songs, epics, and documentary material. On February 25, 2016, the Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema and Yara Arts Group will open Yara Arts Group: Looking Back/Moving Forward, a museum exhibition that celebrates Yara’s 25th anniversary. The exhibit includes costumes, instruments, photographs, props and videos from Yara’s productions at La MaMa in New York, and from performances and research expeditions in the Buryat Republic in Siberia, Mongolia, China and Kyrgyzstan and the villages of Ukraine. Yara artists will also create several live events with Ukrainian participants in conjunction with the exhibition.

Yara Arts Group is widely recognized for its innovative work to bridge culture, language, genre and time. Yara was born on February 25, 1990 when a group of New York artists creating an original theatre piece about Les Kurbas -- an experimental and influential theatre director in 1920s Kyiv -- celebrated his birthday and decided to form their own company. The show A Light from the East incorporated the diaries of Kurbas with poetry and the dreams of the young Yara artists. It was developed at La MaMa Experimental Theatre and premiered in November 1990. The piece was created anew in Ukraine as In the Light, the first Ukrainian-American co-production and opened in 1991 at the Franko National Theatre in Kyiv the very week that the Soviet Union collapsed. Ellen Stewart, legendary founder of La MaMa, joined the group in Kyiv and soon Yara became a resident company of La MaMa.

Over the years, Yara has developed a pool of actors, singers, musicians, poets and other artists in Ukraine who have worked with Yara. Such artists as: Nina Matvienko, Tonia Matvienko, Mariana Sadovksa, Oleksiy Bohdanovych, Larysa Rusnak, Mykola Shkaraban, Oleh Drach, Natalka Polovynka, Ostap Kostyuk, Eugene Hutz and his Gogol Bordello, Dakh Daughters and Crimean Tatar artists have appeared in various Yara shows. Yara has also worked with Ukrainian poets Oleh Lysheha, Oksana Zabuzhko, Victor Neborak and Serhiy Zhadan.

In addition to its theatre pieces, Yara has presented a wide range of musical and literary events, workshops, art and photography exhibits and lectures, and has published 5 books, most recently "Still the River Flows: Winter Solstice and Christmas Rituals in a Carpathian Village," featuring the Hutsul Koliadnyky, who Yara first brought to the US in 2005 .

For 25 years Yara Arts Group has been directed by Virlana Tkacz. Under her direction Yara has staged over thirty original theatre productions at La MaMa Experimental Theatre, Harvard Summer School and throughout Ukraine, Siberia, and Asia, as well as regularly holding festivals and events at various venues in New York. This retrospective exhibition and the related programs are a celebration of Yara’s continued success in providing a forum for cross-cultural and cross-generational genre-bending arts.

The exhibition opens on Thursday February 25 at 6:00 PM at the Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema at 9 Lavrska vul, building 26, in Kyiv. It continues through April 15.

For further information call Tania Korobka (063) 368-0485

Photos for press
press opening at 15:00 –Thursday February 25, 2016

 Schedule of related events

Feb 25

18:00 -- opening
19:00 – meeting with the participants of Yara’s first show “In the Light”
and Amy Grappell’s film about Yara’s first co-production in Ukraine
20:00 – Yara Birthday party

Feb 28

16:00 – “Koliada winter songs in the theatre“ Hutsul music and meeting with the Koliadnyky from the Carpathians, as well as actors who have appeared in Yara’s five winter song projects

March 5

16:00 – meeting with Nina Matvienko who appeared in Yara’s “Waterfall/Reflections” and “Scythian Stones” and the women from Kharkiv who sang in “Kupala” with Mariana Sadovska

March TBA

“Poetry in performance,” meeting with poets Oksana Zabuzhko, Oksana Batiuk, and actors Larysa Rusnak and others who helped create Yara’s shows based on poetry.

March TBA

“Yara’s Forest Song” (1994), talk with the participants

video from Yara's "Dark Night Bright Stars"

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