With Fire and Rage

Liverpool Producer for the Eurovision EuroFest Commission connecting Ukrainian artists with Liverpool on a walking tour.

In 2023, Liverpool hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine. To coincide with the event, Culture Liverpool commissioned a series of new works to form a cultural festival. These new works included dance, performance, music, exhibitions and more. You can read about the cultuyral festival here.

I was Liverpool producer for With Fire and Rage, a new commission created by Zoe Lafferty of Artists on the Frontline and Veronika Skliarova from Parade-Fest.

The specially commissioned audio tour shared stories from artists on the frontline in Ukraine with visitors to Liverpool during the city’s Eurovision festivities. Original, designed artwork will mark the nine locations in Liverpool city centre, which are free to access. 

Created by renowned Ukrainian producer and cultural activist Veronika Skliarova and British director and writer Zoe Lafferty, With Fire and Rage features some of Ukraine’s most radical and innovative artists. Combining testimony with photography, 360 images, visual art, poetry and music, each of the stories focuses on a different artist in Ukraine. Around 40 artists from Ukraine are featured in the work. 

From music concerts underground in Kharkiv Metro Station, to the preservation of cultural archives as rockets fall, a theatre director who has left the stage to fight on the frontline and a writer whose work has led to arrest. Each story invites listeners to discover how artists are protecting their rich and unique culture heritage, and using creative resistance in the face of continued Russian aggression and invasion. 

Narrating the audio tour, Co-creator Veronika Skliarova, takes us to urgent stories that expose attempts to eradicate the country’s cultural identity – a tactic of war – highlighting the human cost behind standing up to an empire. 

“It’s artists against invasion, culture versus colonialism, freedom of speech resisting an empire.”

The tour began at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, where the story is told from Olha Puzhakovska, the Executive and Artistic Director of Lesya Ukrainka Theatre. From there, the tour travels to Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, St Luke’s, or The Bombed Out Church, News from Nowhere Bookshop, Bluecoat, Liverpool Central Library, Lovelocks Coffee Shop, Moorfields Station and Liverpool Parish Church. 

Each features a unique story that resonates with that location. It is part of an interactive journey that combines narration, testimony, music and poetry on a digital platform built by creative technology partners Coney. All you need is a smartphone and headphones to be digitally guided on this epic journey. 

Co-creator Zoe Lafferty says that Liverpool and its vibrant arts and music scene make it the perfect UK city to guide audiences from unique and important locations in Liverpool, to different histories and places across Ukraine.

“As Eurovision kicks off, we must not forget the brutal context of war that Ukrainian artists are working in. Not only are artists risking their lives to preserve their country’s cultural heritage, but they’re finding radical and brave ways to use creatively to fight against invasion”

You can still visit the tour website here

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