All NAC performances and events cancelled until June 14, 2020

Counting Sheep

Mark and Marichka Marczyk Toronto
  • Created by Mark and Marichka Marczyk
  • Collaborating Directors Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin

Counting Sheep is a Ukrainian folk opera created by Mark and Marichka Marczyk recounting the 2014 outbursts, violence, and sniper fire of Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution witnessed by the Marczyks themselves. A call-to-action and affirmation of the human condition, it invites audiences to be part of the Revolution.

The show travelled the world after its initial production in 2014, winning the Scotsman First Fringe and the Amnesty International awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Counting Sheep was redeveloped in collaboration with Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin of the Belarus Free Theatre to deepen the impact of the work while making the production more tourable.


Mark and Marichka Marczyk met and fell in love on Independence Square in Kyiv at the height of the Revolution of Dignity. They have traveled across Ukraine volunteering, performing for soldiers and displaced persons, and writing about their experiences in a number of publications. Marichka is a founding member of the renowned folk choir Bozhychi and fronts the Ukrainian indie-chanson trio Kuku Shanel.  She moved to Canada to be with Mark and his balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super-band Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

In 2005, Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin founded Belarus Free Theatre, an international award-winning theatre company founded on principles of freedom of speech and artistic expression. Their focus is on social justice, taboo zones and violation of human rights across the globe.

Creative team

  • Created by Mark and Marichka Marczyk
  • Collaborating Directors Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin
  • Producer Selfconscious Productions

National Creation Fund investment

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $150,000 supported a four-week development workshop with the artists of the Belarus Free Theatre to explore how music and video are used to tell the story, shift the staging to support larger audiences, and hone the immersiveness of the experience. The investent was also used to develop a more sustainable model for touring.


Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.

Recent updates

March 6, 2019

Stress and Happiness, 24 Hours a Day - Vanessa Porteous Talks to the Creators of Counting Sheep

“It was easy and hard at the same time,” says Marichka Marczyk about the reboot of Counting Sheep: Staging A Revolution, a music theatre hybrid that plunges its audience into the 2014 ‘Revolution of Dignity’ in Kyiv, Ukraine. Co-creator Mark Marczyk, Marichka’s partner in life and... Read more

January 31, 2019

Review: Counting Sheep at the Vaults

The words “immersive Ukrainian folk opera” don’t normally get my pulse racing, not even if they come with the words “award-winning” attached. In the case of this little beauty, the winner of a Fringe First when it appeared in Edinburgh in 2016, I’m thrilled to make a big exception.... Read more

January 30, 2019

Counting Sheep: A Revolution Comes to Waterloo

Immersive gig-theatre show Counting Sheep was a smash hit when it debuted in Edinburgh in 2017, winning both a Fringe First and the Amnesty International award. It stunned audiences with its boisterous and vivid depiction of the Ukrainian protests in 2014, which led to countless... Read more

full timelime ›

Performance dates

Previous Performances 

January 23 to March 17, 2019:  London (UK), presented by the VAULT Festival

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