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Young Director Competition in Kyiv

by John Freedman

CITD recently continued its practice of making major grants to the Theater of Playwrights (ToP) in Kyiv. Over the course of the war in Ukraine, CITD has commissioned the writing of approximately 30 new texts with $1,000 grants to 30 individual writers; it has helped buy equipment for the new theater space in the center of Kyiv with a grant of $5,000, and in July 2023 it entirely underwrote a major new directors competition with a $10,000 grant that not only made it possible to run the week-long festival, but to offer monetary awards to the winners. The winning director/writer teams will mount full productions in September, October and November.

Here is the theater's official announcement of the results of the competition, which ran from July 19 to 23, and whose stated purpose was to discover new and young directing talents who are capable of exhibiting a special sensitivity to the needs of contemporary drama:

“The winners of the Young Directors Competition hosted by the Theater of Playwrights, supported by Philip Arnoult's Center for International Theater Development (CITD), have now been announced, and the magic of turning the sketches into full-fledged performances is already underway.

We remind you that the winners are:


  • Rob Feldman's sketch of Polina Polozhentseva's "Grandmother and Grandfather are Having Sex.”

  • Sofia Saletska's sketch of Kateryna Penkova's 'Hotel Great Britain.'
  • Olexo Gladushevskiy's sketch of Natalka Vorozhbyt's 'Green Corridors.'

  • "Arkadiy Nepitaliuk's sketch of Kateryna Penkova's 'One Hundred Thousand.'"

Maksym Kurochkin, playwright non pareil and artistic director of the Theater of Playwrights, described his vision of the mini-festival a day before it opened:

"The director of contemporary texts in Ukraine is still a profession of the future.

Most likely, we have just one life. Is it worth wasting it on writing books that have already been written, playing with fonts in Word, and embellishing bad ideas? Eating indigestible food, painting pictures by numbers, and staging 'time-tested' plays? What hinders you from speaking 'in your own voice'? What keeps you from seeking out and finding new voices, from forming creative unions that change the world? Is it fear, disbelief in one's own strength, fear of being judged?

But we are people. Our brain competes with the universe on the level of infinity. We can become what we were not yesterday. Are we to fear our teachers? What feats of thought give them the right to condemn something that did not exist a moment ago? Come! Offer your own ideas!

"The director of contemporary texts in Ukraine is still a profession of the future."

Maksym Kurochkin

Playwright and Artistic Director of the Theater of Playwrights

Be unique. Take risks. There are not many professions left where this is possible.

Here is what our theater schools produce in practice: an immature individual seduced by the labor of overeager teachers clinging to a dream about creativity, a child who never encounters the living word of a contemporary (to say nothing of a peer) throughout all one's years of study. It is shameful. It is untenable. It is murder.
One need only be an accomplice in crime to become a brother of hope.

The Theater of Playwrights has announced a competition. Time is running out. Be on time!

This was made possible thanks to a grant from Philip Arnoult's Center for International Theater Development. And also to our dear friend John Freedman."

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