Seasonal Event

REFUGE- An Immersive Theatrical Installation”
Winter 2023


Ignited by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, REFUGE – an immersive theatrical installation will be presented as a work in development by the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance. Conceived, directed, designed and composed by Granada Artists-in-Residence David Adam Moore and Victoria (Vita) Tzykun, REFUGE draws from Tzykun’s own experience as a Ukrainian refugee who fled with her family in 1990. It will be performed March 2-5 and March 9-10 at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in the Main Theater, Wright Hall.   

REFUGE will be presented in an immersive, talk-through environment and will explore the universal subjects of home; belonging; ties to one’s heritage, language and cultural identity; stability versus chaos; separation; grief; and hope.

“What triggered the need to create REFUGE is an intense feeling that it was my home that was being invaded on February 24, 2022,” said Tzykun. “Like many of us in the Ukrainian expat community, I am actively, deeply worried about my friends and family in the region whose lives were being endangered and uprooted. But this sense of connection to the place is an unexpected feeling, as my family left Odessa (Ukraine) in 1990, and since then, I have been thinking that I no longer have a ‘home’ and that I am a ‘citizen of the world’ with no anchor.”

As co-creator, Moore addressed the production’s universal themes of displacement beyond the Ukrainian crisis.

“Working with a live situation as the core element of our storytelling demands great care and sensitivity from all of the creators involved,” he said. “It also brings a deeper level of responsibility and engagement for student performers tasked with creating characters who embody the experiences of millions of refugees from many times and places throughout human history.”

Moore said that out of respect for the circumstances and experiences of those currently ensnared in the Ukraine crisis, “we’ve pointed the focus of this work not on the depiction of the current situation, but on a central question raised by the Russian invasion of Ukraine: What is home?”

He says this question is universally relevant because everyone is in some way connected to the refugee experience. “From Indigenous people of California who were displaced from their ancestral lands, to Africans violently taken from their homes and forced into slavery, to Ukrainians who are currently struggling to find shelter in other parts of the world, we all carry traces of previous homes within our bodies, our psyches, our stories, songs, cuisine and culture. Home is a process of interconnection between all humans.”  

Tzykun, a director, designer and multimedia artist, has designed for companies such as the Norwegian Opera, the Bolshoi Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, LA Opera and Houston Grand Opera, among others. Her film and TV credits include design and art direction for Lady Gaga, production design for several award-winning films, and commercials for leading brands such as PBS, DirectTV and Qualcomm. Tzykun currently serves as a faculty member of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and the National Theater Institute. Alongside Moore, Tzykun is a founding member of GLMMR, a New York City-based interdisciplinary art collective that fuses the worlds of fine art, audiovisual technology and live performance.

Recognized for his work as an operatic performer, creative technologist, director, theatrical designer, composer and educator, Moore has performed leading baritone roles for the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Carnegie Hall, the Salzburg Festival, PBS, BBC, Arte TV and Erato Records. His work as a stage director, designer and multimedia artist has been presented by the Guggenheim Museum, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, New Amsterdam Records and National Sawdust. His projection designs has been featured in Lighting and Sound America Magazine, and his award-winning photography has been published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine and Boosey & Hawkes Music.

The production’s creative team includes doctoral student Erika Tsimbrovsky, movement director; instructor and alumna Danika Sudik (M.A., dramatic art, ’17) as ensemble member; and alumna Corinne Balmain (B.A., theatre and dance, ’20) serving as stage manager.

The immersive installation is a journey that patrons walk through for a duration of about one hour. Audience members are strongly advised to wear comfortable shoes. All coats and bags must be checked in advance. LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED. 

Warning: The production contains strobe lighting effects, haze effects, loud sounds and gun shots. 

Adult tickets are $10, faculty/staff tickets are $8, and student/senior tickets are $5. Tickets may be purchased at the UC Davis Ticket Office, located on the north side of Aggie Stadium, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, by phone 530-752-2471 during the same hours, or online at

The Department of Theatre and Dance is part of the College of Letters and Science at UC Davis.

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