Aksana Haiko

  • 14.08.2016
  • Author: 34mag
  • 13213
Aksana Haiko, one of the founders of the independent theatre Kryly Halopa, tells what for and why the art space Prastora KH appeared.


Activities: conducting lectures, showing films and organizing culture events at a new art space of Brest Prastora KH. As a theatre Kryly Halopa is participating in various theater festivals and workshops.

Foundation date: 2014.

Structure: There are 4 people who’ve been united for the last ten years by their work in the theatre Kryly Halopa; thus, there’s no well-defined hierarchy.

Facts: Prastora KH art space was created in the autumn of 2014. Since that time more than 70 events have been held: from literary parties to Christmas fairs for children and lectures on the history of the cinema.


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We are talking to: Aksana Haiko, 39. Aksana received her degree in Civil Engineering in Brest Polytechnical University and completed a course on Business and Information Technology in Belarusian State University.




History of Aksana and of the theater Kryly Halopa

– I found myself accidentally among the students of a polytechnic university. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool humanities-minded person; I’ve always wanted to write and translate. Every time when I had my end-of-term exams I always wanted to abandon the studies and escape somewhere. But at some point I got interested in theatre, and that later swallowed me up. After finishing classes my friends and I played in “theatre” and disguises. We were real fans of a Soviet-era writer Daniil Kharms, even then we dreamed about staging his play Elizabeth Bam.

Kryly Halopa theatre, initially called Free theatre, was established in 2001. Since that time 10 plays have been staged, and we have taken part in various workshops and festivals in Belarus, the Ukraine, Denmark and Poland. Our best product, Malefitsium performance-march, was shown two times in Warsaw, Lublin and in Brest, where it opened a city festival Belaya Vezha. Literary works by the writers Prazhko (Belarus), Kharms (USSR) and Kafka (Austria) as well as Christmas plays and a documentary play Chernobyl were staged.  

People who were part of the independent theatre Kryly Halopa are now putting their back in the development of a culture space in called Prastora KH

The notion “theatre” can have two different senses: theater as a team of people and theatre as a system that launches a product. So, these people who were part of the independent theatre Kryly Halopa are now putting their back in the development of a culture space in Brest called Prastora KH that was created in the autumn of 2014.

As for the production of plays, now we have a break. However, in September at a French theater festival in Montpellier we will show Charnobyl, a documentary whose first night has taken place this summer at Pryzba, Belarusian theater fest. And a few weeks ago we held a couple of workshops within a theatre festival in Vengaity, Poland. The event focused on the issue of refugees, and technically it was a combination of a real theater and documentary text.  We brought with us the material for work – recorded interviews, one with a girl from Donetsk (the Ukraine), another with the refugees from Africa and one more with a Kazakh girl whose parents fled from Kazakhstan in the 1990s.





How is Prastora KH acting?

– Unfortunately, the troupe of our theatre has drastically changed during the last fourteen years: only four of us have remained and thus we started to work on a culture forum in Brest. We have never managed to think up a name for it so it is still called Prastora KH. Now the priorities are set this way: maintaining and developing this space is the most important objective for us.

What we strive for is that our forum is joined by different art projects belonging to theatre, art or other creative genres, and also to education sphere. We’ve held more that 70 events since November: lectures, cinema sessions, presentations of books and creative projects. Lecturers from abroad also came as we believe that foreign experiences can broaden horizons and drag Belarus into the international context.

Local authorities pretend we don’t exist. And perhaps that’s for the best

It’s a difficult question whether Prastora KH has managed to become an important forum for the city within a period of 8 months. Our events were attended by more than 3 000 people the majority of which is made up of educated youth and intelligentsia. There’s room for improvement. Once a Uniate priest came to our lecture, and that was very important for us as we are sensitive towards the issue of tolerance.

On the other hand, we face a problem that the majority of those who live in the neighboring houses do not even know that we exist (the office of Prastora KH is situated it on the ground floor of an apartment house on Khalturyna street – 34mag). Now we are thinking over a kind of a neighborly mini-project: we plan to attract the neighbors to our performances. We want to build a strong connection with Brest citizens. As for the dialogue with the local government, the latter pretend we don’t exist. And perhaps it’s for the best.





Missions and plans

– Why do I do that? I will tell you a story. At the end of the school year my daughter together with her classmates went to play laser tag. They received equipment and started shooting each other. The games based on instincts and a bad sense of humor irritate me. I work for Brest citizens to have access not only to laser tag and cheap comedies. We create an alternative, offer to rethink art, to be inspired by our lectors’ stories and create good ones by ourselves. For example, we staged a play with the children from the village Vyalikae Syalo and showed it not only at Pryzba festival, but also in Brest theater. Benka, a Belarusian performer and musician, once came to us with the show of her children’s theater troupe.

I work for Brest citizens to have access not only to laser tag and cheap comedies

The plan for the nearest future is to convert the forum into a full-fledged art gallery and hold exhibitions. We already have a manager – painter Volha Maslouskaya; but we are lacking technical equipment. We opened Prastora KH earlier than we had intended to. We didn’t have a business plan or an exact formula for the operating of the forum. Now we are working on the registration of this cultural institution and look for people who would be interested in its development and take over a part of administrative tasks.

Our aim is to develop a proactive stance in the inhabitants of the city and to allure them into participating in our projects. I hope our team will have enough patience to cope with this difficult task.




Interview was initially published in August 2015.


Text by alexsasha
Photo by Marc Vodka
Translation by Alexandra