At the beginning of the term in September, Croydon College enrolled over 60 Ukrainian students – young and old – who have left Ukraine in these troubling times and were seeking to extend their education.

A small group of them, with a few friends, went to Trinity School to see their production of “Shakespeare in Love”, a theatrical adaptation of the film starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow. The play tells a fictional story about the writing of Shakespeare’s best-known play, “Romeo and Ethel the Pirate-King’s Daughter”.

In Elizabethan England women were not allowed on stage, so female parts were played by boys whose voices had not broken. Viola, a rich heiress, has ambitions to act and dresses up as a man, complete with false moustache, auditions for the role of Romeo as “Thomas Kent” and wins it.

Shakespeare follows “Thomas” home, and meets Viola, whereupon he falls in love. Add in a jealous fiancée, the disapproval of the Lord Chamberlain, the death of Christopher Marlow, Queen Elizabeth herself and Spot, the dog, and the result was an evening full of comedy and romance, with musical accompaniment, which the students greatly enjoyed.

All Ukrainian students (and some friends) are welcome to meet up on Friday evenings in the Student Common Room (LG63) at 16:45. Most of the time is spent playing games, including table tennis, pool, Jenga, chess, video games and more. It is an opportunity to relax and maybe talk about developments at home.

The next meeting will be on January 6th 2023, which is the day before Christmas in the Ukrainian Orthodox Calendar, so we will try to organise some festive treats. We hope to organise more activities to introduce some of the peculiarities of British life. For further information contact Peter Raistrick (peter.raistrick@croydon.ac.uk) or Christopher Hunt (christopher.hunt@croydon.ac.uk).

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