The puppet theatre from Sochi won a grant to stage a theatre play for blind people

In November 2017 the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation established the grant “Theatre with closed eyes” as part of “The Exchange of cultural projects” of the VI Saint Petersburg International cultural forum. This implies a theatre performance without visual components, which is based on three ways to impact the audience: sound, kinaesthetic, smells.


The unique theatre format which is fully comprehensible for blind people, was introduced by a project “Invisible theatre plays” in 2014. The theatre plays of this project had been performed in 20 regions of Russia. The project was organised as part of the programme for people with visual impairments called “The special view”, launched by the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation.

The grant “Theatre with closed eyes” stimulated the expansion of this inclusive practice to the Russian regions in order to support socially important initiative of making cultural legacy accessible to people with visual impairments.

“It is of special importance for those who established the grant and who participate in the selection, that the selection is done at the high level with the support of the Ministry of Culture at a such large-scale platform as the Cultural Forum. This enhances the cooperation between large state and private institutions in order to support cultural initiatives in the best interests of the sociocultural mission” — Maria Krasnikova, the director of the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation, pointed out.

During 2 months of the selection process, the expert committee reviewed many applications submitted by theatres and actor troupes from all around Russia and shortlisted the top 30 applications. All of them met the requirements of grant and had a unique format of theatre staging. The application submitted by the puppet theatre “Sakvoyage” and the Sochi Philharmonic Society “Winter theatre” were recognised as the most interesting art piece for staging. The winners received the funds to stage the play and perform it in orphanage schools for children with visual impairments.

Vladimir Plekhov, the manager of media projects of the Sochi Philharmonic Society and Roman Sokolovsky, the producer and art director of the puppet theatre “Sakvoyage” worked in tandem to create the theatre play under the mentorship of Ekaterina Negrutsa, an expert from Moscow — the art director of the project “Invisible theatre plays”. “White nights” short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky was selected for staging.

According to the jury, the theatre play with closed eyes, created by puppet masters, became a new word in a theatre of such format. A puppet master has skills how to contact with the audience and can teach any person to think creatively like no one else does.

A story about a Dreamer from Saint Petersburg and his love is born in a fragile and dreamy world, created on the stage. The allegory of “White nights” in the theatre play is created by plunging into the darkness. Nights become white thanks to other human senses other than vision. The spectators can immerse in full to the acts of the play, to the atmosphere of sounds and smells of a foggy city. They can literally touch the glorious architecture of Saint Petersburg, stone lions with broken noses and forge fences of bridges over a river.

The premier of the theatre play took place in the Sochi “Winter theatre” on June 2018. The main stage was at the Cultural Hall of the central area of Sochi. The theatre performance will be touring to Tuapse, Adler, Lazarevskoe, Krasnodar, Armavir and Rostov region.

The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation contributes to the development of the inclusive culture, namely donates grants to create inclusive theatre plays, supports the development of audio description and creates the barrier free environment for blind people and people with visual impairments as part of the support programme for people with visual impairments “The special view”.


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