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Special permission for Ukrainian actors to perform – BBC News

Image source, Oleksii Tovpyha

Image caption,

The 10-strong theatre company will spend three days in York

Ukrainian actors have been given special permission to perform at a festival in York.

York St John University will host A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Kyiv National Academic Molodyy Theatre later this month.

It is part of the biennial York International Shakespeare Festival which begins on 21 April.

The festival director asked Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture to allow the male members of the group to travel.

Exit and travel visas were required as Ukrainian men, aged 18 to 60, are not allowed to leave the country due to the war with Russia.

Philip Parr, York International Shakespeare Festival artistic director said the invitation to the group had come after seeing them perform in Verona in 2022.

“The audience reaction to their performance was extraordinary and the power of their story telling was immense.

“I can safely say it’s one of the best productions of the play that I’ve seen.”

He said he managed to persuade the Ukrainian authorities the visit was an important cultural one.

“Thankfully we’ve now managed to overcome the issues and we’re excited to have them here in York.”

Image source, Oleksii Tovpyha

Image caption,

In addition to performing the group will take part in a number of workshops

The 10-strong theatre company will be in the UK for three days, taking part in a workshop with theatre students on 27 April, delivering their main performance in the York St John Creative Centre on 28 April and taking part in an open workshop for actors from across the city on 29 April.

Dr Saffron Vickers Walking, festival advisor and senior lecturer in English Literature at York St John University said it was an honour to host the group.

“These productions act as windows into other cultures and encourage us to understand them better,” she said.

“This festival aligns closely with York St John University’s commitment to social justice, inclusion and diversity, and in these sometimes divisive times, we celebrate how Shakespeare can bring us together.”

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