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. 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 – artistic director Natalia Kolyada told him that even though they enjoyed performing at festivals abroad, they would not defect. Listen to the story here:
Free Theatre Belarus 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.
– Jenny Lawton