Free Theatre Belarus Leaders In Hiding

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 - 01:32 PM

Belarus is called the last dictatorship in Europe.  The government censors the arts, so performance troupe Free Theatre Belarus performs secretly, in converted houses, to avoid arrest.  Today The New York Times is reporting that the leaders of the Belarus Free Theatre have been forced into hiding following an incident at a protest rally.

Back in 2008, New York-based playwright and performer Aaron Landsman visited the group in Minsk.  He was astonished by how the group remained prolific under such difficult circumstances – co-founder Natalia Kaliada told him that even though they enjoyed performing at festivals abroad, they would not defect.

The Belarus Free Theatre is due to start performances of “Being Harold Pinter” in New York City early next month.  The work, which already played in London to praise, is based on transcripts from Belarussian political prisoners and incorporates writings by Harold Pinter.  Meanwhile, Tom Stoppard, Ian McKellan and others protested the Belarussian Embassy in London.


UPDATE: The company managed to escape Minsk and travel to the US in January, 2011 - listen to Kurt's conversation with Natalia Kaliada.


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