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John Stirling

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28 h Friendly in Cherno

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  1. Hello, I'm Jonathan Stirling. I was an actor that created international and contemporary work for modern audiences. I especially like creating work for people who don't usually get the opportunity to engage with the arts. I studied Stanislavsky, Shakespeare and Brecht at university in the UK and I truly value all of their lessons and teachings about the self and society. I was part of a traveling theatre company called 'The Classical Players' which aimed to bring theatre and Shakespeare into communities that often didn't have access to the arts or any entertainment of that caliber. The group went into schools, churches and community venues to engage with young people and adults who had never experienced the wonder of Shakespeare, or any plays for that matter. In 2015 we contacted the Chernarus government and requested a grant to do a summer tour of our work around the towns and cities of the country to attempt to rebuild the culture they had lost during the civil war. They accepted on the condition that we championed positive social messages within our work, messages of acceptance, compassion and hard work. We began our work in Berezino because it was densely populated and because there were plenty of opportunities for us to engage with the diverse local community. It was going really well and so as a group we decided to make the trip to Chernarus an annual event. Every year we would do a summer season in a different city in Chernarus. In 2016 we went to the busy streets of Novodmitrovsk which was absolutely crazy, the level of engagement we got from the kids and their parents was excellent. The final performance of our 2016 summer season was in the main square and thousands of people packed the streets and watched from windows and balconies to hear of the demise of Julius Caesar. When the trouble began in early 2017 we were hesitant to go back. But we were encouraged by our partners in Chernarus that so long as we weren't close to the Russian boarder, we would be safe. And so we agreed, and our third season was based in Chernogorsk. When we arrived in late June it seemed like the previous two summers. But the protests and the riots in early July meant the number of people coming to our shows drastically fell. They had other things on their minds: worry, anger, disdain. We tried to boost our publicity but we were simply drowned out by the chants of the larger crowds. We hadn't performed in three weeks when we began to hear rumors from the north. This is when we decided it was time to leave. We tried to get ourselves passage onto a ship out of Chernarus but we had so little money that only three of the four of us could go. I took the hard decision to allow my colleagues to flee without me, they promised they would send me funds for my evacuation but I wasn't optimistic. The situation was growing more and more desperate as people flooded into the city from the North and the countryside. I felt ridiculously alone and helpless, and so I kept a diary alongside constantly reading my Shakespeare plays in an attempt to escape the horror around me. I guess that my best hope is to survive, and try to find an alternative method out of the country.
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