YARA'S LOOKING BACK/ MOVING FORWARD(2016)
museum exhibit celebrating Yara Arts Group
Feb 25 - April 15, 2016
Museum of Theatre, Music and Cinema in Kyiv
SPECIAL EVENTS in Kyiv
Oksana Zabuzhko, Oksana Batiuk & Larysa Rusnak
on working with Yara on poetry
March 19, 2016 photos
Yara Arts Group is widely recognized for its innovative work to bridge culture, language, genre and time. Yara was born on February 25, 1990 when a group of New York artists creating an original theatre piece about Les Kurbas -- an experimental and influential theatre director in 1920s Kyiv -- celebrated his birthday and decided to form their own company. The show A Light from the East incorporated the diaries of Kurbas with poetry and the dreams of the young Yara artists. It was developed at La MaMa Experimental Theatre and premiered in November 1990. The piece was created anew in Ukraine as In the Light, the first Ukrainian-American co-production and opened in 1991 at the Franko National Theatre in Kyiv the very week that the Soviet Union collapsed. Ellen Stewart, legendary founder of La MaMa, joined the group in Kyiv and soon Yara became a resident company of La MaMa.
Over the years, Yara has developed a pool of actors, singers, musicians, poets and other artists in Ukraine who have worked with Yara. Such artists as: Nina Matvienko, Tonia Matvienko, Mariana Sadovksa, Oleksiy Bohdanovych, Larysa Rusnak, Mykola Shkaraban, Oleh Drach, Natalka Polovynka, Ostap Kostyuk, Eugene Hutz and his Gogol Bordello, Dakh Daughters and Crimean Tatar artists have appeared in various Yara shows. Yara has also worked with Ukrainian poets Oleh Lysheha, Oksana Zabuzhko, Victor Neborak and Serhiy Zhadan.
In addition to its theatre pieces, Yara has presented a wide range of musical and literary events, workshops, art and photography exhibits and lectures, and has published 5 books, most recently "Still the River Flows: Winter Solstice and Christmas Rituals in a Carpathian Village," featuring the Hutsul Koliadnyky, who Yara first brought to the US in 2005 .
For 25 years Yara Arts Group has been directed by Virlana Tkacz. Under her direction Yara has staged over thirty original theatre productions at La MaMa Experimental Theatre, Harvard Summer School and throughout Ukraine, Siberia, and Asia, as well as regularly holding festivals and events at various venues in New York. This retrospective exhibition and the related programs are a celebration of Yara’s continued success in providing a forum for cross-cultural and cross-generational genre-bending arts.