The internationally acclaimed theatre group, Belarus Free Theatre, have arrived in Edinburgh for the Fringe and have quickly become the must see piece of theatre at the Pleasance.
Situated a mere two hours away from London, in the centre of Europe, Belarus is the last European dictatorship. Dissenters “disappear” and the country is the last in Europe to retain the death penalty. Natalia Kaliada, along with her husband, Nikolai Khalezin founded Belarus Free Theatre in Minsk in 2005 hoping to draw the world’s attention to the terrible political repression, the beatings, the jumped-up charges, the jail sentences, the show trials that the people of Belarus live in daily fear of.
Kaliada herself has been arrested for protesting, as have many other members of BFT. They perform in secret, in private houses, always under fear of arrest or persecution. They maintain a base in Minsk, but since being smuggled out of Belarus in 2010 they have become political refugees, touring the world with radical, dangerous theatre. Neither Kaliada nor Khalezin, nor their children have been able to return home since.
On August 25th, Belarus Free Theatre will live stream a performance of Trash Cuisine, from Edinburgh. This stunning theatrical piece interweaves real-life testimony from the oppressed, from the victims of repression with live music, dance and Shakespeare. The live stream will make the performance accessible to international audiences – particularly those in Belarus. It is the first time that Belarus Free Theatre have streamed a show as an act of political defiance. In the meantime, Kaliada organised the ‘Give A Body Back’ protest in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket to demand the return to their relatives of the bodies of those killed under the regime.
Read Fourthwall’s review of their production at the Pleasance Theatre here
Live Stream: www.liftfestival.com (3.30pm BST)
Give A Body Back: http://www.freebelarusnow.org/2012/10/give-the-body-back-appeal/
Belarus Free Theatre: http://www.belarusfreetheatre.com/