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The Eight Annual Cambridge Vsesvit Evening: Maklena

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The Annual Cambridge Vsesvit Evening was begun in 2011 to celebrate the art of literary translation and the mission of the journal Vsesvit (The Universe), the oldest active literary journal in Ukraine. Founded in 1925 by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Vasyl’Blakytnyi, and Mykola Khvyl’ovyi, the journal has translated over 4,000 works from 98 literatures of the world into the Ukrainian language.

The Vsesvit Evening consists of musical performances and literary readings of texts in the original language(s) and in English and Ukrainian translation. The readings are performed by the students and academic staff of Cambridge’s Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. Languages read to date include Belarusian, Irish, Chinese, Lithuanian, French, German, Russian, Polish, Hebrew, Italian, Georgian, Armenian, Turkish, Catalan, and Yiddish.

In 2018 the Cambridge Vsesvit Evening will feature the work of the Night Train Theatre Company and their dramatic project Maklena, which represents the first English-language production of Mykola Kulish’s 1933 play Maklena Grasa, translated into English for the first time by Maria Montague.

Maklena Grasa was Kulish’s final major work before he was executed during the Stalinist purges, which swept across Ukraine in the late 1930s. The play was performed only five times in 1933 before it was banned by the Soviet authorities and erased from Ukrainian culture. After more than eighty years, Night Train is developing a fresh interpretation of this classic Ukrainian play, marking its English-language premiere.

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