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Katowice. They escaped from Kharkov, they play in the Silesian Theatre. Refugee women about their lives a year after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

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Before Russia invaded Ukraine, they played in the same theater. After the war broke out, they had 15 minutes to pack. They traveled from Kharkiv to Lviv with the children for 30 hours by train. The actresses went to Katowice, where they perform in Teatr Śląski. In an interview with a TVN24 reporter, the refugees say that they live today, between what they left behind and a new place.

Before the war, Kateryna Wasiukowa and Nina Zacharowa played in the same theater in Kharkov. Now they perform together in Teatr Śląski im. Stanisław Wyspiański in Katowice. They began their debut in Poland with the performance “5:00 UA” directed by Yulia Maslak, which premiered on June 19 alongside 12 other actresses from Ukraine under the aegis of the Forum of Theater Directors of the Silesian Voivodeship. In the performance, they shared their experiences from the first days of the invasion Russia to Ukraine, from escaping with children to Poland, from staying in Poland.

A year after the invasion, other Ukrainian refugees also work in the Katowice theater. On Friday, February 24, on the anniversary of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, there will be a premiere of another play with their participation.

Read also: They want to give refugees “New Hope”. “This help is still needed”

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Rehearsal for a play featuring refugee women at Teatr Śląski TVN24

Aneta Głowacka from Teatr Śląski admits that in the theater they have always been sensitive to people from Ukraine, but thanks to the actresses, the group got to know the perspective of refugees. “We met with their vivid, painful experiences,” he says. And he adds: – These were their stories, touching, terrifying, often very painful. It changed the perspective of looking at this war.

“We met with vivid, painful experiences from Ukraine”TVN24

Ukrainian actress: I am not part of here and I am no longer part of life in Kharkov

Kateryna Wasiukowa told the TVN24 reporter that she had 15 minutes to leave the house. She did not take food and drink for herself and her little daughter. They spent 30 hours on the train to Lviv. – It was a terrible road. People, children, animals, you don’t know anything. She is convinced that this trip will stay in her mind forever. “When I’m an old grandma, I’ll be telling this story too,” she admits.

They had 15 minutes to leave the house, they had no food or drink on the train

They had 15 minutes to leave the house, they had no food or drink on the trainTVN24

How are you feeling today? He compares his situation to “the picture of fish in a plastic bag”. – Fish in a plastic bag that they took from the zoo store and they’re not home yet, and they can’t understand what’s going on, where is the house or the store. I feel something similar. I am not such a part here and I am no longer a part of this life that I left in Kharkov, describes Vasyukova.

Tvn24.pl coverage of the 365th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine >>>

Rehearsal for a play featuring refugee women at Teatr ŚląskiTVN24

He emphasizes that this is a difficult moment, that a person is as if in a straddle. But he’s learning to take advantage of every moment.

Read tvn24.pl report: Russia’s attack on Ukraine >>>

Rehearsal for a play featuring refugee women at Teatr Śląski TVN24

Nina Zakharova has similar feelings. – I live in one day, in one moment. I don’t think about the future, I try to build something new, starting from what I have. I’m with my son here, we’re safe, I’m calmer. I don’t know how I would feel if I stayed in Ukraine. I would like to, but it would be hard for my nervous system.

"I live in one day now, I don't think about the future"

“I’m living in one day now, I don’t think about the future” TVN24

Main photo source: TVN24



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