Voices From Chornobyl

this is for thousands of years



UK Charity’s 25th Anniversary Presentation of VFC

We’ll post pictures from last night’s reading soon, but meanwhile here is the poignant information on Chernobyl Children’s Life Line presentation of our play Voices From Chornobyl as part of their 25th Anniversary Vigil. (from their Flickr Page):


Voices From Chernobyl

April 26th 2011 will be the 25th Anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear reactor accident, at Chernobyl in northern Ukraine. The recent events in Japan have led to significant media attention on this anniversary and the work of UK charities such as Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL) who, since 1991, have been helping the 1000’s of children of Belarus and Ukraine who are living in contaminated regions of these countries, blighted by the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl.

To commemorate the 25th Anniversary events are being planned in the UK and all over Europe. Through the recently formed European Chernobyl Network, CCLL came up with the idea of holding simultaneous candle light memorials at venues throughout Europe on the eve of the disaster i.e. Monday 25th April, as the disaster happened at 1.23am on the 26th April. For the Derbyshire Dales, we will be holding an outdoor memorial event at Stoney Wood, off Middleton Road, in Wirksworth beginning at 8pm.

The commemoration evening will include a performance of the play, “Voices from Chornobyl” based on an award winning book written by Svetlana Alexievich by the same title. Images from the disaster and the immediate aftermath will be projected onto a large scene behind the actors. The main event will be the creation of a candle memorial consisting of a large diameter international radiation symbol and also a “25” formed by 25 people holding candles. Everyone there will have the opportunity to place a candle in the commemorative radiation symbol which will be about 4metres in diameter.

It’s been an fascinating journey for me, signed up initially as an actor – and then having to step forward and make my directorial debut, tackling a very difficult and emotional piece. We had our final rehearsal at our rehearsal room last night – it will be a powerful performance.

If you are anywhere nearby – please come. If not – please look out for local events. 25 years on, it is still a major issue for the people of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.

With thanks to Nicholas Lativy for the use of his shot of the CNPP – unfortunately the promotion budget didn’t stretch to a visit to Ukraine.

The Cast
The Cast:
From left to right:
Anna: a villager – played by Hilary Jones
Vasily: a physicist – played by Lee Stephens
Lyudmilla: a fireman’s wife – played by Krystina Johnson
Grigory: a liquidator – played by Gordon Conway
Katya: a daughter and mother – played by Bryony Pollock
Sergei: a camerman – played by Mark Sobey

A Poem of Hope

As preparations for our first staged reading heat up, I am reminded to step back and remember why we are doing this in the first place.


by Leanne T.

Riverside Primary School, UK

One laugh can start a minute.

One rose can dawn the hope.

One seed can set of nature.

One creature can spark spring.

One friend can make a difference.

One breath of fresh air will relieve our lungs.

One sunbeam will light our world.

One star guides millions of minds.

One laugh can change the gloom.

One word starts a life and it’s all up to you.

Leanne was one of the winners of a 2007 Writing Competition presented by a UK charity. Thank you, Leanne, for sharing your poem and reminding us of our mission.

Why it Matters (to me)

By Jane Whitty

We can’t go to the grocery store or walk down the street these days without being approached by a representative from a charitable organization asking for a donation. There are charities covering every imaginable need and appealing to every demographic but yet there are still so many causes that are underserved. Organizations working for a cause that have not yet reached the level of mass consciousness seem to be operating under the radar. I think that is what really appealed to me about the Voices from Chornobyl project. I was caught off guard. It was not raising awareness for a cause that normally gets the spot light (though those are equally worthy and inspiring), it was an opportunity to get involved in something that I, shameful to say, knew very little about. As I have been educating myself since getting involved one of the hardest things to come to grips with is the magnitude of what took place at Chornobyl and the shockingly disproportionate response and continued lack of conversation about the topic. The politics of the region, then and now, aside it is profound how quickly people stopped talking about Chornobyl. That is also what I find really exciting about Voices from Chornobyl – it gets people talking. It strives to create a dialogue about this topic that seems long over due.

With every new bit of information I learn about what happened and is still happening in Chornobyl, I am struck by how little I knew and how much needs to be done to improve the situation. There are numerous amazing organizations working all over the world to help those affected by Chornobyl and I am excited to promote them in any way we can. To bring their story to more audiences so that hopefully, in the future, fewer people will be caught off guard by the topic of Chornobyl.

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