KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A theater in Ukraine’s capital reopened over the weekend for the first time since Russian forces invaded the country, and tickets quickly sold out.
Theater on Podil was the latest cultural institution in Kyiv to resume operations. Movie theaters and the National Opera opened their doors at the end of May.
“We were wondering how it would be, whether spectators would come during the war, whether they think at all about theater,” said one of the actors, Yuriy Felipenko, on Sunday. “And we were happy that the first three plays were sold out.”
Filipenko said the theater was putting on plays with just a few actors.
His colleague Kostya Tomlyak had hesitated to perform in wartime. But the influx of people returning to Kyiv since hostilities there have lessened persuaded him that it’s necessary “to learn how to live during the war, to live with theater, cinema, cafes. You continue living, although you don’t forget that there is the war.”
Russian forces withdrew from their offensive on the Ukrainian capital in early April, refocusing on the eastern region of the Donbas.
“The main question is how actors can be helpful,” Tomlyak said.
Founded in 1987, the Theater on Podil long has been one of the most popular in Kyiv. In 2017, it moved to a new modern building equipped with state-of-the-art scenery.
Since the start of the war, the theater has changed its repertoire, dropping plays by Russian authors.