Community Conversations

Following the matinees on Sunday, June 9, 16, and 23, join us for a post-show community conversations about the vital questions raised by Describe the Night, and their personal and societal implications. At each of these sessions we will be joined by community partners with unique perspectives on the play who will act as conversation catalysts, as well as some of the artists involved with bringing Describe the Night to life.

Come back to Woolly on any of these Sundays to participate in one of these important conversations and reflect on your experience of the play!

JUNE 9 - Sergey Parkhomenko & Dr. Natalie Rouland

Sergey Parkhomenko

SERGEY PARKHOMENKO is a Russian journalist, publisher, and founder of several projects aimed at developing civic activism and promoting liberal values in Russia. He is a former political reporter, commentator and editorialist at popular daily newspapers; founder and first editor-in-chief (1995-2001) of Itogi, Russia's first current affairs weekly, published in cooperation with Newsweek. Parkhomenko was instrumental in organizing mass rallies in Moscow in Winter 2011 – Spring 2012. He organized the 'Vse v sud!' ('Go to court!') a civic campaign helping people to file lawsuits against widespread election rigging. One of the founders of 'Dissernet' ('DissertationWeb'), a network community dedicated to exposure of dissertation plagiarism, and 'Posledny Adres' ('Last Address') civil campaign helping people to create a collective memorial dedicated to the victims of political repression in the Soviet Union and Russia. One of the founders of 'Redkollegia' program, an independent award supporting free professional journalism in Russia. Since December 2017, Senior Advisor at The Kennan Institute at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington, DC), in charge of “Russian Newsroom Project” to support the Russian journalistic community and facilitate exchanges between Russian journalists and their European and American colleagues.

Dr. Natalie Rouland

DR. NATALIE ROULAND is the Senior Advisor for the Billington Cultural Initiative at the Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C. A scholar of Russian literature, culture, and performing arts, Rouland is currently completing her first book Ballet Empire, Russian Invasion. She has taught Russian literature, language, and film courses at Wellesley College, Miami University, and Stanford University. Rouland holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her past awards include the Billington Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Fellowship for the Study of Russia and Ballet at New York University’s Center for Ballet and the Arts, the Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress, the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in St. Petersburg, the Geballe Fellowship at the Stanford Humanities Center, and the IIE Fulbright Fellowship in Moscow. 

Rouland has spoken on Russian culture and the arts at the French Embassy, the Russian Cultural Centre, the World Affairs Council, the German Ambassador’s Residence, the Wilson Center, the Library of Congress, New York University, Stanford University, Princeton University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard University. She currently serves as the inaugural Scholar in Residence for the Washington Ballet.

JUNE 16 - StEven barnes

Steven Barnes

STEVEN BARNES is Associate Professor of Russian and European History at George Mason University. His research specializes on the history of the Gulag—the Soviet system of forced labor internment camps. His first book, the multi-award winning Death and Redemption: The Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society, published by Princeton University Press in 2011, was based on extensive field research in Russia, Kazakhstan, and the United States. He is currently completing a book to be called Gulag Wives: Women, Family, and Survival in Stalin's Terror that will trace women’s lives in a Gulag camp for women arrested solely due to the arrest of their husbands at the height of Stalin’s Great Terror. Dr. Barnes teaches extensively on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union along with global comparative histories of the concentration camp and totalitarianism. He seeks to bring to his students an understanding that violations of human rights are not just artifacts of earlier time periods and foreign places but are real and significant threats in our own time and place. He is excited to discuss the ways that Describe the Night uses Russian and Soviet history to raise important questions about contemporary events in the United States.


Jeffrey Mankoff

JEFFREY MANKOFF is deputy director and senior fellow with the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program. He is the author of Russian Foreign Policy: The Return of Great Power Politics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) and a frequent commentator on international security, Russian foreign policy, regional security in the Caucasus and Central Asia, ethnic conflict, and energy security. Before coming to CSIS, he served as an adviser on U.S.-Russia relations at the U.S. Department of State as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. From 2008 to 2010, he was associate director of International Security Studies at Yale University and an adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to his policy research, Dr. Mankoff teaches courses on international security and Central Asia at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Dr. Mankoff has held academic fellowships at Harvard, Yale, and Moscow State Universities. He holds dual B.A.s in international studies and Russian from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in diplomatic history from Yale.