KYIV City Ballet’s first British performance since Ukraine came under attack from Russia at York Theatre Royal on June 14 has sold out.
One hundred per cent of ticket sale proceeds will be donated to UNICEF’s Ukraine Appeal from the two-and-a-half-hour special performance that will be split into two parts under the direction of Ivan Kozlov and Ekaterina Kozlova. A class from the Kyiv City Ballet company will be followed by excerpts from ballets such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.
York Theatre Royal chief executive Tom Bird personally invited Kyiv City Ballet to perform in York after learning of the company being stranded in France, where they were on tour as the war broke out in Ukraine. The dancers have stayed there ever since, given that it is too unsafe for them to return home to Ukraine.
“It’s a huge honour to be hosting Kyiv City Ballet at York Theatre Royal,” says Bird. “This is the company’s first UK appearance since their city came under attack, and we are proud that York is able to stand in solidarity with Kyiv by supporting these extraordinary dancers for this one-off visit.”
City partners in York have come together to make this fundraising performance a reality. Make It York, City of York Council and York BID are all supporting the Theatre Royal with organisation and logistics to bring Kyiv City Ballet to the city.
Eurostar and LNER have stepped in to arrange the company’s return travel from France to York; Visit York members Elmbank Hotel, Malmaison, Middletons, Sandburn Hall, The Grand, The Principal and York Marriott have offered to accommodate the company and crew during their stay, while City Cruises and Bettys will be providing additional hospitality. A Civic welcome awaits at Mansion House.
First Bus will support on the visa costs to bring the company to York; remaining costs and company fees for the performance will be covered through corporate sponsorship.
Sarah Loftus, managing director of Make It York, says: “We are so proud of our city pulling together to bring the Kyiv City Ballet to York. This is a special opportunity to celebrate world-class performers, while raising vital funds for the people of Ukraine. The generosity of businesses and residents in York has made this possible.”
Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, says: “In what are incredibly dark times, it has been heartening to see York’s response as the city has come together to show our support and solidarity with our Ukrainian friends here in York and in Ukraine.
“From donations and heart-warming signs of solidarity to housing refugees, it’s clear that we as a city are united and ready to do all we can to stand with Ukraine and its people.
“Art has a unique way of uniting people and that’s certainly what we need more now than ever. I’m grateful to all those involved for their support in setting up this amazing event. It will certainly be an emotional and wonderful evening for a crucial cause.”
Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID, says: “It is always good to hear of high-quality cultural offerings coming to York, but for our city to attract the Kyiv City Ballet will feel really special.
“Many of us feel helpless on how we can support Ukraine, but I know residents and businesses will want to show support and solidarity, as well as celebrate the visit of a world-renowned group of performers.”
Adam Wardale, chair of Hospitality Association York (HAY) and general manager at Middletons Hotel, said: “The members of HAY are incredibly proud to be able to offer Ukraine’s Kyiv City Ballet performers accommodation throughout their stay in York.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to support Ukraine, showing solidarity while also celebrating the arts.”