PHILOSOPHICAL GARDEN
VERONIKA SKLYAROVA AND DEMYAN OM ON THE EDUCATIONAL ROLE OF THEATER FESTIVALS
Talk abstracts of conversation with theater critic and thinker
Every year, the European Commission allocates hundreds of billions of euros for mobility programs. These funds are aimed at making people travel to different countries of the world to gain new knowledge. The European Union is very concerned about the development of non-formal education, art, and inclusion. The programs are quite rich and at the same time very exciting, besides, they are often free. Alternatively, participants are covered the lion's share of the costs.


For what purpose is this done? This is how the commonwealth between different countries develops. Citizens see that the state takes care of them, supports them. Everyone can develop, start their own business. The economy is thriving, conflicts are minimized, countries are ranked among the safest and most developed.


Ukraine is still only halfway to such a lifestyle, but not everything is so bad. There are a lot of proactive people in the country who travel, establish horizontal links between cities, communicate with European institutions, and bring home new experiences. They organize exhibitions, festivals, theaters, and performances.


As, for example, Veronika Sklyarova is a cross-cultural leader, program director of Parade-fest, a festival about the right of Kharkiv residents to Kharkiv and art in it.The author of the "Philosophical Garden" Demyan Om and Veronika Sklyarova talked about the revolution in the country and art, the mood of society, the value of theater and the educational role of theater festivals. Briefly — read the "Theses", and in more detail — listen to the podcast.
Art as a panacea


Art is a good and effective tool for establishing communication, bringing people together, developing critical thinking, and debunking stereotypes. Messages transmitted through art directly affect the formation of awareness of citizens, without exaggeration, invest in the economic component of the country.


Culture helps to create a holistic society and establishes horizontal links between cities. There is an analogy that such a contact is similar to a factory fabric, which consists of thin threads. These are her layers. Their intertwining is the creation of common projects in the country and regions, which become a solid foundation for building something significant. This is a kind of indicator of the development of a healthy and harmonious society. It is based on freedom, equality, spiritual wealth and material well-being.
Point "zero"


Let's take as an example Kharkiv, a city where people are mostly driven by fear. We will begin to hold a festival regularly on the current topic: "the right to the city". That is, we will show the residents that there is a powerful and diverse art in Kharkiv.


Gradually, more and more people will join all kinds of performances. They will begin to think more critically, and will behave noticeably more consciously. Thus, the festival will help to overcome the remnants of Soviet thinking, gradually dispel fears and restrictions, but it will do it in a tolerant and imperceptible way.
With the help of art, I try to show people that they have the right to their own city.

Veronika Sklyarova
Thanks to the wide variety of cultural events, the existence of various foundations, the establishment of contacts between business and art, the development of the IT sphere, patronage, a modern person has many opportunities to move forward, feeling supported. Our country has a huge potential, a reserve of faith and hope, which, in our case, stimulates development.


An interesting point. In the Berlin residence you can see a lot of fine art, theater, but the Germans are quite inert. The state finances all kinds of art, which, it would seem, gives an opportunity to develop without restrictions. But for some reason there is no movement.


So what would you choose — risk or greenhouse conditions?


Art is not only movement, you can hear silence in it. Once in the gallery, at a performance or a musical concert, you can adjust the focus on performing skills and get to your own point "zero".
The stage as a method of education


The original function of the theater was to educate the audience. Now working with the audience turns into a kind of observation process, which is why the repertoire is adjusted to people's expectations and needs. That is, stage activity eventually turned into a functional tool.


Take, for example, an ordinary Ukrainian theater and look at the statistics of tickets sold. We will see a full house at comedy, light or classical performances. Heavy social topics are rarely raised in theaters, because there is no demand for them.
The main thing in the festival is the key statement.

Veronika Sklyarova
The viewer wants to relax in an easy chair, enjoy an entertaining spectacle, wait for the intermission, drink cognac with a sandwich and not think about problems. This indicates that the educational mission of the theater is fading into the background.


An important point. If children's trips to the theater caused boredom in you, you most likely went to the wrong performances. The secret of loving the theater is to find such performances that speak the same language with you.


Theater is still a functional story. He very often adapts to the needs of society, and to the political aspects of the ruling party at that time. There was a lot of symbolism in the Soviet theater, which by inertia has survived to the present day. In the same Theater (Theater of the Young Spectator, - Ed.) there is a lot of symbolism that our children are not ready to solve, they do not need to do it. Censorship dictated the formalism and symbolism of the Soviet theater.


And the theater can be simple, and communication can be simple, the main thing is that it acts on some of your emotions.


And primitiveness is not a synonym for something badly done. Primitiveness requires a higher level of inclusion. Cutting off is no less work.
Primitiveness is considered a negative definition. In fact, it requires a high level of personal involvement.

Veronika Sklyarova
Art as a business


Speaking about the relationship between art and business, we present a scheme: someone gives money, and someone masters it. The funds are working to ensure that this process takes place in a controlled manner. In addition, today Ukrainian teams have the opportunity to work with grant or investment money. In society, in turn, a credit of trust is established, relying on which it is possible to more effectively build the interaction of art with business.
It will not do in this system without the institution of patronage and expert activity. Both directions have accelerated development today.


The formation of the institute of patronage is a really long and complex process. It is especially important for modern Ukraine. This is a kind of emancipation of each individual, which includes taking responsibility for their actions and decisions. Alas, decades of state guardianship have brought up Ukrainians somewhat irresponsible and not empathetic.
Theater takes very different forms.

Demyan Om
People need to be informed that art develops not only themselves, but also society as a whole. If an ordinary IT specialist goes to the theater or gallery at least once every two weeks, his development will accelerate and he will probably raise the level in his field. Here it is, a direct impact on the creative economy.
Ukraine must learn how to properly use exits from comfort zones and convert stress into a powerful incentive for development.

Demyan Om
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Listen more about the role of theater festivals in the podcast.

This text is also available in Ukrainian.

All materials of the Philosophical Garden project — longreads and podcasts — are available.
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