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Guest Blog: HUNCHtheatre Release New Book To Raise Funds For Their Company

The book, "Still Life: 12 Survival Tips From Paintings", was developed during lockdown

Guest Blog: HUNCHtheatre Release New Book To Raise Funds For Their Company"Still Life" is the result of two lockdowns and an ingenious example of how theatre can exist and develop even when it is not possible to meet the audience.

The original idea of HUNCHtheatre is the search for new spaces in which theatre can take place. That's why during the lockdowns we were more active than ever.

We were playing in an abandoned pool, running outdoor readings, online activities with our department in Belarus. We became pioneers in mastering new restrictive measures in the post-COVID reality, the first to open the theatrical season on the West End with performances in an abandoned church.

We are happy to present our first book, a fundraising book to keep the company alive as we do not receive government funding. During lockdown, director Vladimir Shcherban started to recreate paintings in his room using no technical trickery - just a camera phone and whatever was at hand.

The results gained a lot of attention from international media and became a way for artists from Belarus, Canada, Israel, to inspire and support each other. Co-artistic director Oliver Bennett was inspired to write texts accompanying these miraculous recreations. They imagine the paintings are giving us unorthodox survival tips. In this book, we pass on that advice to you. To delight, amuse, inspire and perhaps help you survive.

This is more than just a book. It is a personal journey through art - from Caravaggio to Gerard DuBois, through known masterpieces and neglected gems. It is a guide to making art in your room from nothing, revealing tricks of the trade and new secrets which will be useful to professionals and anyone who wants to give it a try. It is also part of our urgent fundraising campaign...

We need urgently your help to survive over the next few months and cover the basic running costs of the company. We need to keep our internet so that we can continue to work with our artists in Belarus, who are working under extremely difficult circumstances. As we receive no state funding, we really need your help to do this.

HUNCHtheatre is an internationally acclaimed company set up in 2018 by director Vladimir Shcherban and playwright Oliver Bennett, who have received numerous awards.

Our ethos is to create a cultural exchange between European and British theatre, breathe life into neglected masterpieces and make art regardless of any obstacle. Our first show, an adaptation of Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero Of Our Time, premiered in a living room in London, for an audience of just 10 people.

We were invited to perform in a Soho hotel, at the Edinburgh festival, for a month at the Arcola Theatre in London and then at festivals in St Petersburg, Cologne and even an abandoned swimming pool in London during lockdown.

It was listed as one of the best pieces of theatre of 2018 by BroadwayWorld, called "a vision of what theatre should be" by The Spectator and "a blistering feat of storytelling" by The Stage.

We then produced the world's first response to the Novichok attack, To See Salisbury, which played at RADA, the Ukraine and America. The Legend of the Holy Drinker - an adaptation of a neglected 1939 masterpiece by Austrian writer Joseph Roth - premiered at the Vault Festival 2020 and was hailed as "a thought-provoking show full of theatrical invention".

Our department in Minsk, HUNCHtheatreBelarus, has recently worked in very difficult circumstances on a new show, Scattering Ravens, about the Belarusian-Jewish poet Moshe Kulbak, who was murdered by the NKVD. This was broadcast and watched by thousands of viewers around the world.

We are now linking up departments in Berlin, Minsk and London to create a show P for Pishevsky at the HAU theatre. We are also working on an adaptation of an Ivan Turgenev novel which will explore our contemporary political divisions.

As a small flexible company, we are part of the theatre industry most affected by the epidemic. But this has not stopped our activities; in fact, we have even discovered new opportunities and set an example to other theatre makers how they can practice and develop their skills even in this new reality.

Find out more about the work of HUNCHtheatre online

Still Life: 12 Survival Tips from Paintings available to buy now


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