Mind The Gap Youth Exchange at Kitezh

Mind The Gap Youth Exchange at Kitezh

THIRTY young people between 15-25 years old met at Orion Community in Russia in Spring 2012, to create a theatrical performance together! They came from England, Moscow and Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia. Together they created the story, the songs, the music, and after only one week they performed their show to an audience in Moscow!

Youth in Action

Thanks to Youth In Action! Most of the funds were provided by the
European Union through the British Council.

Mind the Gap Theatre Co.

We’ve taken off our slippers, unpacked our ukuleles, slept for many hours, regained our voices, vowed to never eat dill soup again, and are finally starting to recover from the life-changing experience of Mind the Gap 2012.

I think you’ll be happy to know that the experience was a fantastic success. The two-act musical, ‘Gold Rush’, set in Arabia and involving Spaniards, Englishmen, camels, powdered lizards, crystal balls, treasure maps, smuggling, disguise and intrigue, a happy ending and a really big bucket, was directed, composed, choreographed, set and costumed over a period of eight days. It was performed twice, first to an audience of about eight members of the Orion community, and second to around 200 people, a Russian TV crew, and British Council representatives in a Moscow Theatre.

Mind the Gap group 2

Page - Mind the Gap group 3


During the process bonds were formed which surpassed geography, culture and language, and which will last a lifetime. Young people from the Kitezh-Orion Children’s Community, from schools in Moscow, and from around the UK, lived, ate, worked and played together. The experience was intense and deeply affecting, and many said it was one of the best weeks of their life.

The success of the ‘spectacle’ was due to the incredible hard work of the participants and team, who optimistically took on the challenge of several long, 12 hour-plus days, and an attitude of absolute team work, cooperation, patience and friendship which smashed through any language or cultural barriers. But the success was also due to the help of many other individuals: the kind and welcoming citizens of Orion who supported us through the provision of food, tea and splendid accommodation; the efforts of the staff at Ecologia; the Youth in Action funding team; Barnstorm Youth Theatre for their energy and inspiration; and the many, extremely generous individual donors from around the world who enabled this venture to go ahead by giving up their time, money, support, love and the occasional cajon box drum.

We’d like to say an enormous THANK YOU to every one of you for your kindness, for believing in us, and for allowing us to undertake this huge adventure together.
We have a filmed copy of the show performed in Moscow, and will be hosting viewings of the show here in the UK, and making copies of the DVD available for participants – please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to hear more about the show or obtain a copy of the DVD. Again, an incalculably huge thank you for everything.

Tessa Bolton, Rebecca Gosling, Georgina Brown, and the rest of the Russian and English team and participants of Mind the Gap 2012


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

13 − 4 =

you can make an Impact

Join our dedicated team of volunteers and experience the joy of giving back, while making a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals and the community

you can make a difference

Your contribution has the power to make a difference in the lives of those in need, enabling us to continue our vital work and create positive change

Stay in touch with us

Subscribe to our emails today to receive our latest news, updates, and inspiring stories.

susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.