Originally coming from Ukraine, Nataliya is a Christchurch based academic, actress, street performer and an emerging playwright.
With a PhD in Russian studies and particular interest in Soviet ideology, literature and fantasy genre, she is an author of a number of academic publications including the articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and her latest monograph “Alexander Grin: Sailing through the Soviet Culture” published in Russian (2012). She also co-edited a collection of academic essays How We Became Middle-earth which examines the cultural issues generated by Tolkien’s novel and Jackson’s films.
However, Nataliya’s passion is not limited to the world of academia and research. In 2010 she started practising performing arts with her street acts as a living statue, and featured in Dunedin Fringe Festival (2011) and World Buskers Festival (2012). Nataliya is currently working on the idea of a new street show.
In 2012 she wrote her first play My Beautiful Disaster – inspired by the works of Scandinavian authors, this story strongly related to the earthquake experiences of Christchurch residents. Staged at the Christchurch Circus Centre (2012) and New Zealand Fringe festival in Wellington (2013), this production combined comedy, drama, circus and physical theatre. It was Nataliya’s debut not only as a playwright, but also as a producer, director and theatre actress. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-jnMRp6ny0)
Her next play, Unforgotten (2013) was initially inspired by Tohby Riddle’s poem about a tired angel, and evolved into a story based on her personal childhood memories and impressions of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster. This play was performed by Nataliya’s theatre collective NO Productions Theatre in September 2013 in Christchurch.
Currently Nataliya is working on her new theatre project Whistle And I’ll Come To You inspired by M.R. James’s classical ghost story which will be staged in May 2014 at Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch.
Other plans for 2014 involve creating an English adaptation of the Romanian play Nameless Star by Mihail Sebastian, and writing an original play with the working title The Fall – the story of e/immigration, journey into adulthood and re-learning to fly… The English version of her monograph on Alexander Grin and the Soviet ideology is also in the pipeline.
Nataliya described her stay at the Michael King Writers’ Centre as a “highlight of the year”. Staying in a secluded old mansion near the the top of Mount Victoria was an unforgettable experience that provided an insight into the history of New Zealand, and made her aware of the spiritual connection with other writers and artists. She described it as nurturing environment that allowed her to work on the synopsis of her new play The Fall.