Anastazie Toros is a visual artist and a theatre director. Anastazie started her PhD in the School of Design and Creative Arts in October 2022. Her research is focused on visual storytelling in the context of mass migration of humans and artistic ideas during the current Russian-Ukrainian war. She will focus on displaced artists’ work, created both in a place of conflict and abroad.
Being Ukrainian, and having spent a great amount of time in the UK and the Czech Republic, she has a unique transcultural perspective on storytelling.
For the last two years she was working part-time at the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, where apart from teaching and directing postgraduate students’ productions, she was working towards establishing Drama in Education as a subject on the school curriculum.
Anastazie is very interested in devising theatre and new writing. Recently she has directed ‘Finding a Voice’ by Samantha Priestley as part of Reboot Festival at Baron’s Court Theatre in London. She has also directed 'Save the Light’ by Polina Polozhenceva as part of the production ‘The Light from Below: Stories from Ukrainian Undergrounds’ in July at Baron’s Court Theatre in London.
Anastazie is also collaborating with Lesa Ukraine Theatre in Lviv, where she directed ‘Penita la Tragedia’ by Tatiana Kytsenko in December 2021 - a play about 4 women facing life-long sentences.
Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the 24 February 2022, she has been involved in helping women and children as well as young students to flee the war. As a result of her actions, almost 100 people (including her students) migrated and moved out from Ukraine to the Czech Republic.
Anastazie is a part of a Charity organisation ‘Kraina Dobroty’ (Country of Kindness) where she is helping to raise funds for Ukraine.
My work so far has always had Ukraine as its centre. In 2017 I devised a performance, based on the dichotomy between the current situation in Ukrainian society and its cultural roots. It was a theatre of poetry, movement and song, based on literary texts, everyday situations, real stories from the participants and their dreams. It had relevance far beyond national borders.
In 2017 I also finished my BA degree in Fine Arts - the topic of my practice-based thesis was ‘Hidden Meanings’. When people communicate, there is always an under-meaning, something, that can be interpreted at a variety of levels. A large part of my work was dedicated to the events that were happening in the East of Ukraine - my paintings include works on the war topic - ‘The Forms of War’, influenced also by the Ukrainian poet, novelist and activist Serhij Zhadan.
My recent article "Ukrainian theatre during the current war" has been published on Stanislavski Studies: Practice, Legacy, and Contemporary Theater (Volume 10, 2022 - Issue 2).
Title of thesis: Visual Storytelling: Migration and Movement During War Time An investigation into the visual storytelling in the context of mass migration of humans and artistic ideas during the current Russian-Ukrainian war
My plans for this PhD research are driven by the feminist principle, which assumes that the personal is political. This PhD is based on the conviction that my personal experiences as a migrant and refugee of Russian-Ukrainian war as well as the stories of other migrants and refugees that fled Ukraine during the war will provide the strategies for ethical artistic storytelling. Such storytelling will also contribute to the change from being an established member of a stable society to refugee status and thence to assimilation into a different environment. I believe that this doctoral project will contribute to the discussions about the migration crisis, and it will formulate the voice that would take a part in the multi-vocal broader debates about this predicament. In my PhD research I hope to prove, that visual storytelling art can play a part in influencing the policies and laws.
Although my project will focus primarily on the Russian-Ukrainian war, I also want to refer to the current global political and ecological situation, which will lead inevitably to mass migration. I believe that my research project is timely. Migration is a predicament that will affect the 21st century as the movement of people will continue to occur due to escalation of conflicts and climate change acceleration.