From April 23 till May 10 Maria’s Children visited England.

We were welcomed by an unusual English weather with warm sunshine and cherry trees in blossom. We were looking forward to the Shakespearean Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Stratford itself is a cosy little town full of flowers and greenery. On the first night we played our show that had been produced by Alexander Kanevskiy in Moscow. The festival took place on different stages of the town at the same time, so after our show we had an opportunity to watch the other ones.

The same way we performed our show two more times in Stratford and in between had free time for walks, fellowship with other participants of the festival as well as for the tour of the Shakespearean Museum.

The climax of our visit became the Shakespeare’s 436th Birthday parade and we took part in it in the capacity of real actors not just spectators.Itstartedearlyintheafternoonofthe 24th. Together with other participants we were walking along the main street from the Museum till the Shakespeare’s monument in beautiful costumes specially made for the parade. Roma and Ruslan were proud to carry a book made by Aslan and Pasha was carrying a flag. The festival gathered actors, musicians and Shakespeare’s admirers from all over the world, yet we were the only representatives of Russia. There was music and drum beat sounded everywhere, people were dancing and greeting each other.


In the early morning of the 26th we were already on the train to London, where awaiting us there were tours, a charitable ball, art and theatre workshops, meetings with old and new friends. But the first things first.

In the evening of April 30 the long-awaited charitable spring ball was held by Chance-for-Life charitable organization, under the leadership of Olga Makharinskaya, Elena Ragozhina, Karina Boldry and New Style magazine. Itwasanoutstandingevent. Maria’s Children have never seen anything like that before. The auction was held during the ball, and our big collective painting “Old Moscow” was on sale among the works of modern Moscow artists. Some funds raised on the auction were set aside to support and expand our educational programs as well as our summer camp.

When in London, we gave an art workshop in the Pushkin’s House and painted a collective work with children of Russian emigrant; also during two theater-clowning workshops we played all kinds of games and taught juggling.

We didn’t forget our traditional Theater-on-Wheels. In Moscow before the trip the thorough preparation of mini-show took place. It was played by our boarding-school leavers and English senior pupils of Wycliffe School.

The plot of the show was based on the Golden Fish fairy tale by Pushkin adopted and translated into English by Alexander Kolmanovskiy and Pasha Novichkov. Tatiana Golovkina, Natasha Kolmanovskaya and other volunteers made real Russian sarafans (summer dress) and kokoshniks (woman’s headdress in old Russia).

Now about trips to museums, every morning we altogether visited one of the big museums and each of us tried to share his knowledge: Maria shared interesting facts from the life of artists and about paintings, Natasha Kolmanovskaya told us about royal families, their life and costumes. Nearly every day we had time for two museums. Here is the list of some of them: The British Museum, the Westminster Abbey, the Tate Britain, National Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Natural History Museum, etc.

We are very thankful to: Ilya Segalovich, Olga Alexeyeva, Olga Makharinskaya, Elena Ragozhina, Karina Boldry, Amanda Dalaidler, administration of Pushkin’s House, Natasha Kolmanovskaya, Tatiana Golovkina and volunteers for the costumes, girls from the New Style, artists who donated their works and everyone who helped to organize the trip.