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Irmos for Ukraine - St. Michael the Archangel, Chagford
Irmos for Ukraine - St. Michael the Archangel, Chagford

Sat, 20 Aug



Irmos for Ukraine - St. Michael the Archangel, Chagford

A prayer for peace. A concert of ancient spiritual songs in support of Ukraine. An unmissable chance to be bathed in the sounds of Ukraine's rich cultural heritage and express your solidarity for the people of Ukraine.

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Time & Location

20 Aug 2022, 19:00 – 20:30

Chagford , Parish Church, Chagford, Newton Abbot TQ13 8BN, UK

About the event


A concert of ancient spiritual and traditional songs of Ukraine

with informal discussion afterwards

My land is a Song. Always and today, it is full of the will to live! Because life always wins over death. We will win together with you! - Nataliia Polovynka

Irmos is a prayer that sits at the heart of ancient Ukrainian spiritual singing. The word, from Greek, means: “link, tie, connection”. During this special evening, these spiritual chants from the early Christian liturgy will be performed in conjunction with traditional Ukrainian songs. We will send the cry of earth up to heaven where it will meet the holy gift that descends from heaven to earth, offering the hope of healing for all human beings and the whole world with them.

Following the onset of the Russian invasion in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, artistic director of Word and Voice Theatre Centre Nataliia Polovynka travelled to Wrocław, Poland.  There she began singing irmos and praying in the churches of Wrocław, gathering around her friends-artists connected with the Grotowski Institute. After that, she returned to Lviv to organize her Word and Voice Theatre into a relief centre for the millions of displaced Ukrainians and victims of war. Like many other Ukrainian theatres, Word and Voice became an indispensable shelter for those fleeing the Russian invasion, but it also began collecting funds to purchase and supply journalists and hospitals with essential equipment, and organizing regular cultural and relief events for the many new residents of Lviv, including the creation of new performances using the material of traditional and spiritual songs of Ukraine. Alongside this work, Nataliia continued to sing irmos in Lviv’s churches to further support people suffering from the war.

On 28 March 2022, with the support of Monika Blige and Magdalena Mądra from the Grotowski Institute, Nataliia again travelled to Wrocław. There with a group of international singers, the inaugural concert of Irmos for Ukraine: a concert of ancient spiritual songs and traditional songs of Ukraine was presented in the beautiful White Stark Synagogue of Wrocław. White Stark was the only synagogue in Wroclaw to survive WWII and its Holocaust, making it an auspicious space for such an inaugural concert dedicated to the people-warriors of Ukraine, who stand as a shield for Europe and the whole world against Putin's war.As the war continues to drain the country’s resources, the work of Word and Voice becomes increasingly more difficult and the theatre’s future is precarious. The concert Irmos for Ukraine is a charitable event and all funds gathered are being used to support Ukrainian people striving for peace through the continued work of Word and Voice Theatre Centre.

Irmos for Ukraine

Conceived by Nataliia Polovynka

Sung by

Nataliia Polovynka

Solomiia Kyrylova

Mariia Kmit

Duration: 1 hour 30 min

Informal discussion to be held after

Nataliia Polovynka is a singer, stage and screen actress, pedagogue, and founder of the Word and Voice theatre centre in Lviv. She studied music at the Lysenko State Conservatory in Lviv (under Prof. Tarnavetska) and theatre with Jerzy Grotowski at his and Thomas Richards’ Workcenter in Pontedera, Italy, as well as from directors KLIM and Sergii Kovalevych. Nataliia performs ancient spiritual songs, traditional songs, romances, classical music and contemporary academic music. She has created many projects at the intersection of theatre and music. Having developed an original vocal methodology, she has conducted voice and singing work sessions internationally, including  at Yale University (USA) and Aberystwyth University (Wales, U.K.). She was also a core teacher at the ‘Atelier’, an educational project implemented by the Grotowski Institute in 2007 and 2008. Previously, Polovynka has been actress and music director of the Les Kurbas Theatre in Lviv [1988-2006], and artistic director of Maisternia Pisni (Song Workshop) [2003-2010]. In 2010, she established the Word and Voice Theatre Research and Art Education Centre in Lviv. Nataliia is the recipient of the Shevchenko National Prize as well as many awards and honours at international theatre and film festivals, including the Silver George Award for Best Actress in Brothers. The Last Confession (dir. Victoria Trofimenko, 2013). In 2021-22, she was awarded Best Actress prizes at six prestigious international film festivals in the US, Canada, Italy, France, Poland and Ukraine for role in the film Mother of Apostles (dir. Zaza Buadze, 2020) based on the real events of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Word and Voice Theatre Centre arose from the need to create a School of Living Tradition, based in Ukraine, on the principles of modern theatre but rooted in the practice of understanding and applying the laws and technologies of tradition. In this way, it was founded on the following interacting principles: School – Artistic Research – Theatre, which were in turn based on an earlier trinity: Tradition – Song – Theatre.

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