Alliance for New Music-Theatre to host readings of new Ukrainian plays

A star-studded cast of local actors with international roots will read works by Ukrainian playwrights. All proceeds will support Ukrainian theater artists.

Alliance for New Music-Theatre announces the launch of a series of public readings of selected works by Ukrainian playwrights to be read by some of DC’s finest and most intelligent actors and beloved collaborators and co-directed by Susan Galbraith and Matty Griffiths.

The first reading will be hosted on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 7 p.m. at Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 3133 Dumbarton Street NW, in the heart of Georgetown.

The company joins in solidarity with Phil Arnoult’s Center for International Theatre Development (CITD), which commissioned a host of plays this last year for their Ukrainian Hope Initiative, and John Freedman, a translator and friend of so many of the country’s leading theater artists. ANTM applauds their efforts to support playwrights in war-torn Ukraine. All proceeds will go through CITD to support Ukrainian theater artists directly.

In this project, ANTM is pleased to be collaborating with pianist Jacqueline Schwab, whose mother’s parents were Ukrainian Jewish, and who is best known for her spacious, contemplative arrangements featured in so many of Ken Burns’ historical TV documentaries.

New Music-Theatre is excited to announce the cast of this project by an ensemble of DC’s finest. These include seven-time Helen Hayes Award nominee Michael Kevin Darnall (like Jacqueline also partially of Ukrainian heritage), who has starred at most of the area’s major theaters, most recently in Arena’s Angels in America. Classically trained in Britain’s premiere drama training program (RADA) yet one of the edgiest and boldest of theater-makers in our region, Lise Bruneau will also be featured. Also joining us is Gyöngyvér Bognár, film and theater superstar from Hungary, who, newly immigrated with her husband János Szász, joins our growing community with other refugees from war-torn or otherwise repressed nations and will be making her DC debut in this project. Matty Griffiths, from a homegrown American military family, rounds out this international cast! He will also assist in co-directing the project with Artistic Director Susan Galbraith (born and raised in Indonesia, lived and worked in London, Singapore, New York, Minneapolis, and Boston).

The project is part of New Music-Theatre’s commitment to cross-cultural collaboration and the telling of stories with music as catalyst for discussion on issues of relevance to our community and the world: changing the conversation through the arts.

Six works, all commissioned by CITD and written in 2022, will be presented in the program, including short plays and monologues. They include:
A Dictionary of Emotions in War Time by Yelena Astaseva
Robinson by Vitaly Chensky
The Peed-Upon Armored Personnel Carrier by Oksana Grytsenko
Pear by Andriy Bondarenko
• “Just Tell No One” from the full-length play Night Devours Morning by Oksana Savchenko
How to Talk to the Dead by Anastasiia Kosodii

The readings are offered to support Ukrainian artists, and ANTM invites everyone who comes to consider a generous donation. All proceeds will go through CITD to support Ukrainian artists directly.

Subsequent readings will follow in June and July. All readings will be followed by a conversation to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle more than a year into this war of Russian aggression and keep our Ukrainian friends and allies in our hearts. To learn more about the project, including how you can support Ukrainian artists and to host an additional Ukrainian Play Readings event, visit


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here