“If there is art, life goes on”: the kyiv theater troupe takes refuge underground

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the streets of kyiv have been deserted – and are now full of barricades, burnt-out cars, rubble and broken glass.

But there is still life in the depths of kyiv, in shelters and underground bunkers, where people protect themselves from Russian bombs.

This is what about thirty members of an independent theater company called Pro-English did: the only company to perform its plays in English in the city.

The art of hope

Since the start of the war, they have decided to stay in the basement of the theater, where the actors and musicians eat, sleep and rehearse.

Anabel Soto, actress and book publisher, used her wrapped books to protect the windows of the shelter.

“The first few days, we didn’t all understand what was going on: really, we expected the whole thing to be four days…not long,” Soto explained.

Anabel continues to rehearse her latest play under the watchful eye of director Alex Vorovensky.

Jenya, a music teacher who has been in the bunker for 25 days, with his wife and his piano, continues to teach his students, now virtually, as many of them are already away from Ukraine.

They all entered at the start of the invasion and do not yet know how long they will have to stay.

“How do we support this kind of life? Because art is my life and if there is art, life goes on,” says theater director Alex Vorovensky.

Watch the video above to hear from those taking refuge in the theater

About Oscar L. Smith

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