METELYK

Intercultural theatre project with refugee women from Ukraine
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METELYK – This is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth… And the motto of an intercultural theatre project in which refugee women from Ukraine develop an unfold their individual ‘womanhood’ in a play.

Questions to participants

METELYK - Olena Kiprova

Olena Kiprova

METELYK is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth. What associations does this word evoke in you? What does being a woman mean to you?

A woman is just as beautiful as a man. Beautiful at any age and in every respect. The entire relationship to gender, not to essence – to ESSENCE, is inspired by role models. And in different eras and cultures, these can be not only different, but also directly opposite. But all the origins of the manifestation of true femininity lie in self-definition, starting from the essence of BEING, from within. Not from the outside as it used to be. It used to be a matrix system of strict definition within society. Now – this is my vision and understanding of the world – there is a paradigm shift in the perception of life in general, a change in the living conditions of all humanity. LOVE becomes the basis of everything. Not (physical) suffering, not selfishness.

And the unifier, the CENTRE of the universe: eternal, unchanging, alive, creative, lifts the whole of HUMANITY out of the cocoon to the free flight of free and beautiful butterflies.

The time in which the caterpillar in the cocoon transforms is dark, frightening and incomprehensible, and we, the whole planet, are going through this time.

But ahead of us lies a marvellous flight into freedom, beauty and joy as we emerge from the cocoon.
So my answers are feelings of a world opening up.

Our METELYK project is a visible sign of the new world. In which both women and men have the freedom to choose happiness, joy and love. Breaking out of old patterns and the old “caterpillar” of fears and self-defence.

I can’t write any other way. Because I am consciously experiencing this transformation.

Our theatre group is an incredible reflection of the beauty that lies within creation. Unconditional love that begins to unfold in everyone, boundless partnership in which everyone gives and receives. It is beautiful! Because we are all ONE and we are all LOVE. We are all butterflies that are getting stronger and stronger!

Many thanks ❤️ to everyone.

METELYK - Nataliia Zhyzhyrun

Nataliia Zhyzhyrun

METELYK is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth. What associations does this word evoke in you?

The butterfly symbolises beauty, freedom, attraction, aloofness, lightness and tenderness. It attracts the attention of children, adults, men and women. The butterfly awakens joy, the desire to get closer to it and to catch it. But a butterfly cannot be tamed.

What does being a woman mean to you? What role do your age, your background, your family situation or other factors play in this?

I am happy to have been born a woman. I have many facets. I am not afraid to show my weakness, my naivety, my tenderness and my vulnerability.

At the same time, I am a strong force. I bring feminine energy, love and happiness. I inspire people to act.

When do you reach your limits as a woman? And who or what helps you to defend yourself and overcome these limits?

Now, at my age, I feel particularly feminine, young at heart. I can say with certainty that age, origin, marital status are no obstacle for a woman to be happy and to love herself. You are a sculptor who creates yourself.

When do you feel strong?

The hardest pain is heartbreak. I feel strong when I can overcome this pain and no longer cry. Then I say to myself: – I survived it. I’ve made it, I’m moving on.

How important are other women in your life?

For me, other women are friends, comrades and colleagues. I have long since learnt not to see other women as competitors. Someone is more beautiful, smarter, more successful. But I have my own strengths. Some women are role models for me who inspire me to develop further.

What surprised you most about yourself or the other women in the theatre course?

The most amazing thing about this course is to see how the creative potential of the participants unfolds. I think every participant is afraid of going on stage in front of a large audience. I try to overcome this fear. I enjoy my role during rehearsals. If I can enjoy my performance in front of the audience, then I have achieved my goal and overcome my fear.

METELYK - Kseniia Yakunenko

Kseniia Yakunenko

METELYK is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth. What associations does this word evoke in you?

I associate the word butterfly with hope, tenderness and love.

What does being a woman mean to you? What role do your age, your background, your family situation or other factors play in this?

For me, being a woman means being in harmony with myself and the world.

My age is my experience. The older I get, the clearer I realise why I am in this world.my background has no real influence on my life.marital status is a very changeable concept. However, my status as a married woman has made me unfree for a long time and restricted me in many ways.

When do you reach your limits as a woman? And who or what helps you to defend yourself and overcome these limits?

If we’re talking about the emotional threshold, then I probably reach it very often through overwork and heartache.

Contact with nature helps me a lot to find peace and balance. Sometimes just walking barefoot through the grass, hugging a tree, hiking in the mountains is enough. As far as physical limits are concerned, I believe that there are no limits for human beings.

When do you feel strong?

I feel strong when I am not afraid. When I am not afraid, I am powerful.

How important are other women in your life?

In my childhood and youth, my female relatives had a huge influence on me. Today, other women are a source of support, understanding and inspiration for me.

What surprised you most about yourself or the other women in the theatre course?

What surprised me about the other participants in our project was their courage, their patience, their commitment, their caring attitude towards others, their strength of character and their perseverance despite severe psychological trauma.

METELYK - Iryna Davydenko

Iryna Davydenko

METELYK is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth. What associations does this word evoke in you?

The butterfly is a fragile and beautiful creature. And fearless at the same time. It flies into the light, into the fire. I associate it with lightness, new life, self-love, freedom and rebirth.

What does being a woman mean to you? What role do your age, your background, your family situation or other factors play in this?

Being a woman means creating love. To be able to inspire, to feel subtly. To be strong through tenderness.

We are what we have grown into. These are fundamental things.

When do you reach your limits as a woman? And who or what helps you to defend yourself and overcome these limits?

I don’t know where the limit is. Time and life experience make us deeper, more interesting and wiser. My self-defence consists of my self-confidence, my character, my knowledge and my core, which has been shaped in me by life situations.

When do you feel strong?

The power lies in the spirit.

How important are other women in your life?

We women all come from the same planet. We understand each other, we read each other’s eyes and gestures.

We are friends and sometimes rivals, like my heroine in “Metelyk”.

The older I get, the more interesting I find other people, women and men.

Everyone has certain experiences, opinions and thoughts that I like to learn from. Each person is a world unto themselves.

And as for competition – on the whole, it makes sense to only compete with yourself; compare the me of yesterday with the me of today. There is always room for improvement.

What surprised you most about yourself or the other women in the theatre course?

There are no ugly women. There are no unfeminine women. And there are no people who have no talents or strengths. Everyone is brilliant and unique.

METELYK - Anna Gafurova

Anna Gafurova

METELYK is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth. What associations does this word evoke in you?

Various associations come to mind, above all transformation, lightness, assertiveness, freedom and strength. These terms are quite controversial, as the butterfly appears light and carefree on the one hand, but plays an important and powerful role in nature on the other.

What does being a woman mean to you? What role do your age, your background, your family situation or other factors play in this?

Of course, my upbringing and socialisation have shaped me a lot. As a child, you just accept a lot of things, but as you get older, you start to think about it. It’s about finding out who you really are and how you want to be. But the way you REALLY want to be and not the way society expects you to be. For me, being a woman means above all accepting myself as I am and also accepting other women, even if they are completely different.

When do you reach your limits as a woman? And who or what helps you to defend yourself and overcome these limits?

Of course, as a woman you are confronted with patriarchal structures or gender-specific expectations. What helps me to overcome these boundaries is the support of sensitive people around me: my family, friends or mentors. Sharing experiences with other women who have had similar experiences gives me strength. It is a constant process and the positive support from my social environment plays a crucial role in overcoming these boundaries.

When do you feel strong?

I feel strong when I am empathetic and manage to understand someone instead of judging them. I also feel strong when I overcome my own weaknesses, even in very small things.

How important are other women in your life?

Women fascinate me and give me a lot of support and inspiration. I see women as superheroes who master everything with love and empathy. My mum is of course one of the most important women for me, and I take her as a role model in many things.

What surprised you most about yourself or the other women in the theatre course?

The biggest surprise was that age hardly plays a role, especially when it comes to love. We are all very similar in that respect. I was brought up to believe that older people know everything better and I often find it difficult to express myself in communication with older people. But in the theatre course, I feel that my opinion is also valued and that I am accepted for who I am. It fascinates me how different and unique we all are and how sensitively we treat each other.

METELYK - Izabela Furczyk

Izabela Furczyk

METELYK is the Ukrainian word for butterfly or moth. What associations does this word evoke in you?

A butterfly stands for lightness, transformation – for changing perspectives through death and rebirth, wisdom and beauty in the light of day.

For me, a butterfly stands for the night and the longing for light and realisation, but also for an end.

What does being a woman mean to you? What role do your age, your background, your family situation or other factors play in this?

I associate it with my body, the need to be pretty.

I had the opportunity to be free. I wasn’t bound by specific traditions about how I should feel or behave as a woman. There were no rules and I listened to my own voice.

The family situation plays a role if there are children or partners.

A woman is a woman no matter how old she is. In an old grandma there are several embodiments of women, both a girl and a young woman, a mature woman who knows life, etc. …. It is not selective, but spatial.

When do you reach your limits as a woman? And who or what helps you to defend yourself and overcome these limits?

When people try to oppress or insult me.

I help myself.

When do you feel strong?

It’s difficult to say in a nutshell: sometimes I’m strong, sometimes I’m weak, it depends on the situation.

How important are other women in your life?

I like women, we have common interests and can have a good time together. But I also like being alone.

What surprised you most about yourself or the other women in the theatre course?

How pretty we all are and how interesting as personalities.


Since many women from Ukraine fled to Dresden last year, we have accompanied the associated challenges with various offers. In the first phase, we provided a lot of information and direct help. Over time, we have moved on to concrete offers (exhibitions, encounter and creative offers) in order to broaden the view of Ukraine and also of Ukrainians in Dresden.

One example Events that take place in our Open Gallery are those examples, e.g. at Café Kulturschock. In spring 2023, the theatre director and Ukrainian-born Anna Yaryga presented her theatre group ellemonh and its theatre pedagogical methods, including a live performance. The format was very popular with the audience: amateurs and non-amateurs develop a play and, together with the audience, look for space for new perspectives and possibilities of action on a certain topic (the play presented dealt with the consequences of war and violence). Some Ukrainian women in the audience showed great interest in taking part in such a course during the event. Anna Yaryga also suggested taking up this wish and offering a new project together with us.

That’s how the idea for the METELYK theatre project was born. We want to give women who have fled from Ukraine to Dresden a voice, collect personal stories and let them develop a play. As a highlight, the participants put the play on stage at several performances in the projekttheater.



An evening of theatre on the subject of femininity and ‘being a woman’

Together with the women on stage and the spectators in the audience, we take a look at the role sexism and discrimination play in everyday life – for individuals and society, with experiences from Ukraine, Poland, Russia and Germany.

The audience can recognise themselves in the play and healing processes can be triggered in them, which seems very valuable and existential to us in today’s turbulent and fast-moving times. The individual, with all its facets and beauty, takes centre stage and should be seen again.


Events

Upcoming events

Dates will be announced soon.

Past events


From workshop…

The experienced theatre maker and trained costume/stage designer Anna Yaryga accompanies the women in an intensive workshop and rehearsal process on their way to presentation and performance. Yaryga herself was born in Odesa (UA). Having lived in Germany for 28 years, she is familiar with the different life worlds in which (not only) Ukrainian women have to assert themselves.

The theatre education work is based on the concept of “Theatre of the Oppressed” – a series of methods that goes back to the Brazilian director Augusto Boal.

… to the stage!

Several performances are planned for the end of the year. The women perform their play together with the ellemonh theatre group founded in Dresden in 2016.

Summer 2023 Workshops and play development
Autumn 2023 Rehearsal time
December 2023 Premiere and further performances, incl. audience discussion (projekttheater, Dresden)


METELYK - Theaterprojekt
Anna Yaryga (3rd from left) and performers from the ellemonh theatre group

METELYK

Intercultural play (UA/DE) on being a woman and sexism

Period
07-12.2023

Project coordination
Anna Yaryga (Project management, theatre pedagogical concept)
Theatre group ellemonh

Cooperation partner
projekttheater dresden e.V.

Supported by

The project is funded as a small project of the Weltoffenes Sachsen support programme under the title “METELYK – Interkulturelles Theaterstück (UA/DE) zu Frau-Sein und Sexismus”. This measure is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament.