Joker Tsunami

Monday, 20 January, 2014 - 00:00 to Monday, 31 March, 2014 - 00:00

Dates: January-February 2014

This initiative was a response of our team to the events which were taking place in Ukraine at the time (EuroMaidan). At the time we were a group of 8 volunteers, who were engaged in the events in different ways but did not want to contribute to the violent strategies which were used by protesters on the main square of the capital city. Our desire was to engage with the people in a non-violent way and to create safe spaces for dialogue and critical reflection about the ongoing events.

We organized a volunteer initiatve called “Joker Tsunami” (“Joker” = practitioner of forum-theatre and theatre of the oppressed), which aimed at doing community theatre with people in different cities of Ukraine around the events at the time.

As part of this project we invited international Jokers to come to Ukraine and facilitate the events, while our team provided the communications and logistics support. Six practitioners replied to our call and arrived for 1 week to work in Ukraine free of charge.

We fundraised among our friends and the activist community to cover expenses related to travel and accomodation of these Jokers (total of $5000 USD was raised in one month). In February 2014 we conducted forum-theatre workshops in five cities across Ukraine: Kiev, Chernigiv, Chernivtsi, Lviv and Donetsk, and created five plays with people about their view of the situation in Ukraine at the time.

Given the diverse geography, the plays were very different and represented the local context. However, all particpants and spectators of the process responsed very well to the methodology and confirmed the need for such nonviolent, creative ways of dialogue.

Based on the video footage (often amateur) of these activities we created a documentary film about the project (with English subtitles):

Follow-up: After the one-week intensive phase of the project came to an end the same group of volunteers organised a number of events with participation of international Jokers as a follow up in order to train Ukrainian activists how to do Theatre of the Oppressed.

This project gave the start to our organization. Later on, as the Crimea was annexed and the conflict in the East of Ukraine erupted, we kept seeing the ongoing need for dialogue and reflection via nonviolent and artistic means, so we continued to organize and faclitiate forum-theatre events in different regions of the country, which later grew into regular activity of a larger scale.  

Theatre for Dialog