After over ten years working with the Siberian independent scene, Юлия Чурилова (Yuliya Churilova) was invited in 2018 to head the young state institution «Первого театра» (First Theatre) in Novosibirsk, where she is from and has spent all her life. For four years, Yuliya has been acting as a curator, producer and organiser and has assembled a team of forty persons: actors, technical personnel, PR specialists, directors, managers, etc.

On 24 February, like most of her colleagues, she was in shock and expressed her position against the invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the discrepancies between local and federal information. At that time, the theatre was preparing its March festival, in which she had planned to show a performance in Ukrainian by St. Petersburg artists. On 15 March, an order was issued to postpone the festival and the next day, she was sacked. After meeting with the theatre team, they collectively decided to continue working internally like before, even if another manager has to sign official documents. The theatre continues to put on shows and Yuliya continues to receive support from her team, from the audience, and from her peers and colleagues in Russia and beyond.

During the last four years, Yuliya has sometimes doubted the role and relevance of theatre in Russia and its potential to generate a desire for development, a curiosity for everything new in art and society. Now when she meets the team and the audience, she can see that it does make sense.