HISTORY: “Open Art Theatre” exists for more than 16years.
But in the year 1993d, when the society was closed for people with Down’s Syndrome, Oksana Tereschenko began giving flute classes for special kids. This way, the musical ensemble “Magic flute” was created. The ensemble went on tours to Norway and Sweden. Later, there came up an idea to create a theatre, where guys could learn different arts: choreography, declamation, sculpturing and circus genres. .
Oksana Tereshchenko, owner and art director
“Theatre is a lifeline for our members!”
Welcome to Open Art Theatre! Our theatre’s story began 16 years ago. In the beginning it was a musical ensemble for children with Downs Syndrome. Later, we decided to create a theatre, in which our youngsters could also experience acting, dance and circus art. Our first plays were classic ones: “Romeo and Juliet” and “Carmen”. Now there are more than five plays in our repertoire, and we have circus performances and a choir programme.
There are more than 20 artists in our theatre. Each of them is special in their own way, and we do our best to help them to realise their talents. Everyone learns to read music and plays a musical instrument. The artists are able to do complicated acrobatic exercises and to juggle. They are taught by professionals with years of experience.
The main idea of Open Art Theatre is to showcase the beauty of our artists. There is a saying: “Beauty saves the world”. Whic h beauty? Both outer and inner beauty. I want them to be beautiful – as beautiful as their souls are: open, kind and light
Theatre is a lifeline for our members. It helps them feel human because it’s so hard to be constantly closed in by four walls, hidden from society, anticipating judgment. Having the opportunity to attend theatre classes is to live as other people do. Art therapy is an effective and necessary tool of development. And when children are active and engaged, their parents are also happy.
Our plays are being attended by more and more people. Many of them come with their families and bring friends. We are also delighted to see famous artists and celebrities among our guests.
This year we have our anniversary season. We plan to perform abroad and we dream of touring, as regular theaters do. Our ambitions have no boundaries particularly as inclusive theatre becomes more and more popular and accepted. We are excited about trying new ideas and genres and we would love to participate in international competitions and festivals and exchange our experience with our colleagues working elsewhere.
The title Open Art Theatre has two meanings. First, Open Art means “art open for everybody”. Until recently, everything was different for people with special needs in Russia – society was closed to us and we were closed to them. But now the condition is freely discussed, and our members feel like stars. The second meaning comes from the first letters of the names of our art director Oksana and her husband Arild. When the theatre began, Arild helped with everything and bought musical instruments. His support means a great deal to us.
Of course, it was hard in the beginning. The costs for lighting, sound equipment, set design and costumes were high. We had to find a place to meet for rehearsals, and no one was ready to support us. Our first “haven of refuge” was The Nikolay Ostrovsky State museum. Now we also rehearse in the “Outpost Club” in Luzhniki.
Members come to us from everywhere. Parents get to know about us through word of mouth and bring their children along. If our teachers happen to meet families with special-needs children, they also invite them to join us. Open Art Theatre has won many prizes at festivals and competitions in Russia. We work with famous music bands; this helps to vary our repertoire and to develop our actors’ talents. Only special-needs professionals work in the theatre.