'I come from there': how the Royal Court brought home plays from Ukraine, Chile and Syria

In The Arts Desk, Elyse Dodgson, the Royal Court’s international director, discusses how she brought home plays from Ukraine, Chile and Syria.


The autumn season of plays at the Royal Court leads with international work. B by Guillermo Calderón (from Chile), Bad Roads by Natal’ya Vorozhbit (from Ukraine) and Goats by Liwaa Yazji (from Syria) have a long history with our international department. We probably have to go back over a decade to look at the seeds of this work and the connections they have to one another and to each of us.


It is June 2008 and I am sitting around a table in Natal’ya Vorozhbit’s new flat in Kiev with her mother Masha, her baby daughter Pasha and our co-collaborator and translator, Sasha Dugdale (pictured below in Ottynia with resident). It is my first visit to Ukraine and we are eating delicious Ukrainian food that Masha has prepared. Sasha and I are just about to get on an overnight train to Chernivtsi in the west of Ukraine. We are making our way to Kolomyia, the town where my grandparents lived, and Ottynia the village nearby where my father was born. Natal’ya couldn’t join us for this part of the trip but the three of us had been cooking up projects together since 2004 when we met Natal’ya as part of the Royal Court’s ongoing workshop with Russian language writers as part of the Lubimovka New Writing Festival in Moscow…

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