UK cultural organisations are joining Belarus Free Theatre’s (BFT) global artistic campaign in solidarity with the people of Belarus who are protesting their country’s falsified election results. Four of the theatre’s company members have been “jailed and brutalised”, according to co-founding Artistic Director Natalia Kaliada, “for simply defending their right to free and fair elections”.
The BFT is the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds and the European Union has stated that it does not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as president. The National Theatre of Belarus, the Philharmonic Choir, the National Opera and Ballet, the National Art Gallery and many other artists have been on strike demanding that Lukashenko must go. On 9th September – one month on from the elections – London’s Barbican, Curve Theatre, English National Opera, Leeds Playhouse, the Roundhouse, Royal Court Theatre, Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare's Globe are lighting up their facades in the white-red-white colours of the Belarusian flag, to highlight the country’s plight.
Kaliada continued: “International attention and solidarity has never been more important and I am thrilled that these world-leading arts organisations will #StandWithBelarus… As a Company, we have been standing up for freedoms and against dictatorship for the entirety of our 15-year existence. It is our role as artists to give people space to dream, to think and to hope for a brighter future”.
A website and Twitter posts are sharing information about the campaign.