WHY HELP BELARUS?
Belarus is ranked 189 / 196 least free place for the media in the entire world / It is Europe’s last dictatorship / Every election since 1996 has been unfair according to the OSCE / Journalists disappear and die in suspicious circumstances / 40% of adults in Belarus, 70% of young people and 85% of students want to emigrate / The Belarus Free Theatre have been arrested and subject to death threats just for expressing their right to artistic freedom
And 5 good reasons to support the Belarus Free Theatre
- Pro-democracy, popular, visible and irrepressible, the BFT keep up a high-energy performance schedule under extremely challenging, clandestine conditions at home. They campaign internationally to raise awareness of the situation in Belarus garnering support from a pantheon of high profile artists such as Sir Tom Stoppard, Vaclav Havel, Steven Spielberg and Mick Jagger.
- The BFT choose theatre above direct political action, committed to the belief that art offers the most effective, responsive and adaptable way to raise awareness, keep the mind open and hope alive.
- The BFT is an illegal organisation – it cannot perform in public, it cannot advertise its performances, it cannot sell tickets and yet it continues to perform in an extremely dangerous and hostile environment. Their audiences have been arrested; rumours have been spread that BFT is a dangerous cult; told that attending their performances will affect educational chances; its actors and associates unable to work for state theatre companies or for schools and universities.
- BFT works from the premise that all articles of the UNDHR are violated by the current regime in Belarus. Their current programme of plays focus in particular on the following violations – denial of political freedom; torture; enforced disappearances; no freedom of assembly; no freedom of sexual rights; domestic violence – violation of the right to freedom of expression is central to all these contraventions.
- “They have a stunning vocal and physical command, performing with ease and urgency material that combines both verbatim and physical theatre, as well as utilising projected video and still images of great beauty alongside pounding live music. Their young director, Vladimir Scherban, is an extraordinary talent.”(Mark Ravenhill, The Guardian)