Crimea 5аm

Documentary performance

Crimea 5аm is a documentary performance, drawing on the literary work of Ukrainian authors Natalia Vorozhbyt and Anastasiia Kosodii, and information campaign with the participation of prominent individuals. 


To make the problems of political prisoners and persecution of civic journalists in Crimea more visible. 

About the project

Through personal stories and testimonies of love and struggle in Crimea today, the play focuses on the record of human rights violations in the Crimean Peninsula since the unlawful Russian temporary occupation. Since 2014, civil activists and in particular representatives of the indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula, Crimean Tatars, have been persecuted by Russian occupying forces.  

With stories of 11 political prisoners, civil journalists, and their families, Crimea, 5am recasts vital issues of justice and cultural liberty. This moving verbatim play, drawn from interviews and testimony, tells this story largely through a female perspective. We hear from the wives of the political prisoners, of their lives, friendships and love affairs, and particularly the extraordinary way that they have kept their households together, drawing comfort and support from their tight-knit female community and how they have been empowered and changed through the experience. 

Read stories of heroes on the project’s website. 

The original production of Crimea, 5аm was initiated by the Ukrainian Institute and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine as part of the Crimea Platform. The original performance was directed by Dmytro Kostiumynskyi and produced by Dollmen. 

About the authors of the play written specifically for the project:

Natalia Vorozhbyt is a Ukrainian playwright and screenwriter based in Kyiv (Ukraine). Her plays have been performed in Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, the UK, Germany and the USA and translated into nine languages. In 2017, her play Bad Roads premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, which, like Monologue No.1 – a play that premiered in Kyiv in 2015 – focuses on the Russian aggression, particularly the impact of the war on women. Bad Roads also became Natalya’s debut feature film, which in 2021 was Ukraine’s entry for Oscar nomination.  

Anastasiia Kosodii is a playwright and director based in Kyiv (Ukraine). Her plays have been read and performed in theatres across Ukraine and Europe. Kosodii started her career as co-founder of theatre Zaporizhzhian new drama in her hometown Zaporizhzhia. In 2017 Anastasiia became a member of the project Krieg im Frieden (Berlin). Later, she became a chief playwright in the PostPlay theatre in Kyiv. Anastasiia was one of playwrights of the City To Go project, produced in three cities of Donetsk and Luhansk region (Bakhmut, Popasna, Mykolaivka) with kids in local schools. Her international work includes projects at the Maxim Gorki Theater (Berlin) and Münchner Kammerspiele Theater (Munich) and the Royal Court Theatre (London).

Previous performances of Crimea, 5 am


The performance in London is part of the UK/Ukraine Cultural Season, organised jointly by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute. The reading Crimea, 5am is produced by Dash Arts and supported in kind by the Kiln Theatre. Directed by Josephine Barton.  

Read the Dash Arts blog about the project. 

The London performance took place on January 16, 2023.

The stories was read by 13 prominent individuals:   

  • Maria Romanenko, an Ukrainian journalist and writer. Hromadske International, BBC, ITV, Sky News. 
  • Peter Jukes, an author, dramatist and screenwriter, CEO of Byline Media and co-founder of the Byline Festival & the Byline Times. 
  • Alexandra Hall Hall, a former British diplomat, who recently served as the UK Ambassador to Georgia.  
  • Chiraz Aich performed in numerous plays, including Shakespeare, in her native languages of French and English. 
  • Cristina Catalina is a Romanian-German actress, producer and translator. 
  • Yasmeen Audisho Ghrawi is an Iraqi-born performer and theatre-maker. 
  • Lana Biba,a Swedish-Ukrainian award-winning actor, director and coach, co-founder of 2Theatre company & London Physical Theatre School. 
  • Waleed Elgadi, a British Sudanese actor & writer with over 20 years of acting experience. 
  • Laila Alj, an actor & writer raised in Casablanca, Morocco. Her performance work is across stage, screen and voice-over. 
  • Laura Hanna, a British-Egyptian performer and award-winning vocalist (classical, pop, Arabic and Brazilian music). 
  • Hemi Yeroham is an actor, born in Istanbul, known for Mamma Mia! (2008), Closed Circuit (2013) and Tyrant (2014). 
  • Gemma Barnett is an award-winning actor and writer. 
  • Сalin Bleau, an international actor & voice over artist with over 10 years of experience. (The Lazarus Project, Netflix drama Zero Chill, BBC drama Killing Eve) 

More about the actors of the performance by the link.  

Director Josephine Burton is an artist and director of over 80 new pieces of award-winning cross art-form work nationally and internationally over the last 18 years. 2022 highlights include Dido’s Bar co-produced with The Royal Docks Team and Oxford Contemporary Music, the Great Middlemarch Mystery, part of Coventry City of Culture and the international Songs for Babyn Yar, enabled through the Goethe Institute and the Ukrainian Institute. She is co-founder and Artistic Director of Dash Arts, a music adviser for PRS Foundation and a professional vocalist. 

The performance was followed by a post-show chat co-hosted by Martin Bright, Editor-at-Large at Index on Censorship; Rory Finnin, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies; Maria Romanenko, Ukrainian Journalist; Josephine Burton, Dash Arts; and Alexandra Hall Hall, former UK ambassador to Georgia. Alim Aliev, Deputy Director General at the Ukrainian Institute, joined the conversation online. 

“5 am is the time of the day when dark forces can break into your door in Crimea when everyone is still asleep, turn everything upside down and take your father, son or husband to jail. Today there are 140 political prisoners from Crimea, and some of their stories are told in our project. This war started in Crimea and will end in the free Ukrainian peninsula,”


The play was performed at the festival of performing arts URBÄNG! 2022, the festival focused on Ukrainian artists at war and in exile. 


The event took place in 2022 at the Beletage Concert Center of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin. The picture was supplemented by current contributions from the war diary by the theatre dramaturge Pavlo Arie. 

The following was discussed in a panel discussion:   

  • Was the current major war only the logical consequence of the prelude in Crimea and the Donbas?    
  • How does the experience of violence change people and society?     
  • How can the experience of war be communicated to Europe and how can the solidarity of European civil society be preserved?    

The project is a cooperation between the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Ukrainian Institute, the Deutsches Theater Berlin, the Dokumentartheater Berlin and the European Academy Berlin.     


  • Ellen Ueberschär, Executive Board of the Heinrich Böll Foundation   
  • Alim Aliev, Deputy Director General of the Ukrainian Institute, Kyiv     
  • Tetiana Pechonchyk, head of board of Center for Human rights ZMINA, Kyiv 
  • Miriam Kosmehl, Senior Expert (Eastern Europe), Bertelsmann Foundation, Berlin  
  • Johannes Voswinkel, Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Ukraine, Kyiv/ Berlin     

Readings and discussion can be viewed online on the Heinrich Böll Foundation YouTube channel in German and English. 


Performing reading in Poland is directed by Jerzy Lach. The performance in Warsaw features actors from the Polish Theatre, in particular Marta Dąbrowska, Ewa Domańska, Katarzyna Skarżanka, Dorota Landowska, as well as Polish influencers. 

The project in Poland was implemented jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, YTC Dollmen, the Embassy of Ukraine to the Republic of Poland, the Polish Theatre in Warsaw and with the informational support of the Nash Wybir Foundation. 

Watch the performance on YouTube.  

Photo: Krzysztof Buczek


The Ukrainian premiere of the documentary performance took place on November 2, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, at the Ukrainian House in Kyiv with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People.  

Watch the first performance of Crimea, 5 am here. 

Куратори проєкту

The project is curated by Alim Aliev and Nadia Sokolenko