A performer with long dark skin, hair and eyes looks stoically at the camera while standing in a lush green garden. She is wearing ethnic clothing and is holding in her outstretched hands two large beetroots
A woman with dark hair stands on a stage with an excited look on her face, arms outstretched in gesticulation. She is wearing a traditional Ukrainian coral necklace and a eucalyptus branch can be seen hanging behind her over her left shoulder with a maple leaf hanging over her right.
Two soiled and red-stained hands cradle a cut beetroot gingerly.

i am root

Theatre and Physical Theatre • Spoken word
South Australia

Told from the perspective of a Ukrainian Canadian living in Australia, this ritual performance piece is a topical, deep, playful exploration (Akubras & Vegemite rituals involved) of culture, identity and belonging in the land down under. Olenka employs her mother tongue (Ukrainian), song, dance, clown, folk traditions, recipes, storytelling, spoken word poetry and prayer to enliven the depths of the unspoken, mysterious places where spirit lives.

★★★★★ "Toroshenko’s performance was solid... Her voice is amazing and the opportunity to hear her sing, pray in Ukrainian and recite poetry was a specific highlight..." Glam Adelaide

★★★★ "The work is a funny, fiery melting pot" All About Entertainment

Winner 2022 Adelaide Fringe weekly John Chataway Innovation Award

2023 Artist Fund Recipient

Presented by: Olenka Toroshenko

Olenka Toroshenko is a Ukrainian Canadian artist, writer and producer whose life is in service to a saner, meaningful existence. She is a multidisciplinary performer whose mediums include spoken word poetry, dance, clown, song, storytelling and ritual performance art.

She is a Katonah yoga teacher, student of The Orphan Wisdom School and lover of coniferous forests. She has worked in news broadcasting and political communications which helped shape her understanding of the current cultural paradigm.

Olenka's credits include: Allara & Olenka present 'Rekindled Systems' Live @ TripleRRR radio (2022), 'i am root' (2022 Adelaide Fringe - weekly John Chataway Innovation Award), Adelaide Writers Week (2021), Australian Poetry Slam State Finalist (2021), 'wild' (Adelaide Fringe 2021)

Reviews & Fringefeed Reacts

  • Emotional roller-coaster 1
  • Bang for your buck 1
  • Toroshenko is a natural story-teller, stripping back the lighting, sound and props to allow the message to be delivered in a direct way. - John Goodridge, The AU Review

See more on the Fringefeed