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Celebrating Zdeněk Svěrák´s 80th Birthday – ‘Elementary School’ (1991)


This year’s Easter Monday marked the 80th birthday of Zdeněk Svěrák, one of the Czech Republic’s most popular actors and film makers. To celebrate the occasion, 80 cinemas around the world showed his films, including London’s small Deptford cinema, which was all made up for the occasion with balloons and paper chains, announcing, in his…

Julia Secklehner | April 1, 2016
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Saviana Stanescu: ‘Aliens with Extraordinary Skills’, by Tales Told in Romanian


The first 100% Romanian play in London – created by Romanians for the  Romanian community – had its West End premiere at the Leicester Square Theatre. Suggestively called Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, it’s the product of determination and enthusiasm both on and off the stage.The artists involved have succeeded in bringing it to life through sheer self-belief, along…

Camelia Ciobanu | March 30, 2016
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Galician Family Stories: Matthew Zajac’s ‘The Tailor of Inverness’, a Dogstar Production


The Tailor of Inverness, a Dogstar production which premiered at Chats Palace in Hackney last week, tells the story of Mateusz Zajac, a Polish tailor from the former Eastern Polish region of Galicia. First performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, the play’s told by Zajac’s son Matthew, the writer and the actor, who…

Olenka Hamilton | March 28, 2016

‘Eastern European for Dummies’ by There There Theatre Company


The provocative title Eastern European for Dummies, an ‘interactive immigration piece’ by There There theatre company, certainly gave a sense of what this show promised. At the start, only fifteen audience members were allowed into the room, equipped with an activity pack about Eastern Europeans (or, to use the abbreviation, EEs). Onstage an interactive exhibition…

Julia Secklehner | March 22, 2016
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‘The Burning Gadulka’ by Rayko Baychev, reviewed by Judith Fagelson


The gadulka’s role in a Bulgarian folk orchestra might be compared the viola’s in a Western classical orchestra. Like the viola, it has bowed strings. Like the viola, it supports the other instruments, providing a sort of musical backbone, but doesn’t quite work as a solo instrument. And, like violists, gadulka players find themselves the…

Judith Fagelson | March 10, 2016
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Dan Cruickshank: ‘Warsaw: Resurrecting History’ – reviewed by Olenka Hamilton

Dan Cruickshank is a writer, art historian, architectural consultant and broadcaster who’s made numerous history and culture programmes for the BBC including Around the World in Eighty Treasures;  Under Fire: Culture and Conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq; The Country House Revealed, and Warsaw: Resurrecting History. In London on February 16th, he descended on Ognisko Polskie’s…

Olenka Hamilton | February 21, 2016
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REMEMBERING BOSNIA: ‘Warriors’ (Kosminsky, 1999) reviewed by Jo Varney

Barely four years after the official end of the war in Bosnia, the BBC aired the two-part drama Warriors (1999), a fictionalised account of a British battalion sent to Bosnia from ’92-’93 (the height of the war there) under the auspices of UNPROFOR, the UN peacekeeping force. Written by Leigh Jackson and directed by Peter…

Jo Varney | December 23, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Trumpeter’ (Mateshko, 2014) reviewed by Valenka Navea


I was fortunate enough to be at the Ukrainian Cinema Days press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy last week, excited to hear what the organisers had to say about the launch of their film festival programme showing at Rich Mix in East London. Igor Iankovsky, founder of Charity Foundation Initiative for the Future and main sponsor of…

Valenka Navea | December 21, 2015