Counting Sheep, the award-winning immersive Ukrainian folk opera, will headline VAULT Festival 2019, playing an eight week run from 23 January to 17 March.
Counting Sheep is a deeply personal retelling of the revolution in Ukraine, where creators Mark and Marichka Marczyk met and fell in love on the barricades of Maidan Square in Kiev in 2014. Performed using traditional Ukrainian polyphonic choral music, archive footage from the revolution, and interactive staging, audience members are invited to become part of the revolution itself.
The show was a critically acclaimed sell-out hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016, and has since toured the world. In 2019 Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin of the Belarus Free Theatre, will direct a new version, incorporating new English language monologues telling the story of the Marczyks’ love affair – where the political becomes personal and vice versa.
Counting Sheep is a unique artistic collaboration between Mark and Marichka Marczyk, whose lives changed forever while fighting for freedom and love in Maidan Square, and Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, whose struggles with the repressive dictatorship in Belarus are well documented. This joint theatrical statement from people who went through real life and death situations makes for an explosive stage experience.
Natalia Kaliada, Co-Artistic Director of the Belarus Free Theatre said, “Given what is happening in the UK with Brexit, especially in these last few months, it is important to remind all of us that in Ukraine people were being jailed and killed for their dreams of being part of the European family, just as they did in Belarus, where we protested under European Union flags at great personal risk.
Counting Sheep gives one-thousand-year-old songs a contemporary twist, intersperses them with incredible storytelling, and puts it all together in a theatrical framework that reminds us not to take our freedoms for granted. Counting Sheep is urgent, essential theatre.”
The Counting Sheep company is Mark and Marichka Marczyk, Hanna Arkipchuk, Volodymyr Bedzvin, Siarhei Kvachonak, Masha Sazonava, Kiryl Kalbasnikau, Georgina Beaty and Michael Edwards. Directed by Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, with lighting and video design by Josh Pharo, design by Nicolai Hart-Hansen, choreography by Bridget Fiske, and sound design by Dan Balfour.