The Free Theatre of Belarus is one of the world’s most renowned theatre troupes. Yet they perform secretly in people’s houses, and even the identity of their audience has to be hidden from the authorities. Why? Because they live in Belarus under the rule of Europe’s last dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko. Critics of his regime don’t just lose their jobs, they can lose their lives, and the Free Theatre is one of the regime’s most vociferous opponents.
Each Free Theatre performance could be the last. Their intensity and imagination are like nothing in the cosy world of Broadway or the West End. Their work has drawn international acclaim, and the support of Tom Stoppard, Vaclav Havel, and the late Harold Pinter.
This film follows Elyssa Livergrant, an acclaimed Canadian playwright and theatre teacher, as she travels from London to Minsk to collaborate with the Free Theatre of Belarus.
22 mins, Al Jazeera English, 2009
Karim Shah & Tom Dumican