The Belarus Free Theatre is at the forefront of the democracy movement in Belarus. Founded by Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Koliada in 2005, the Free Theatre has quickly become known internationally as much for their political actions as they are for their theatrical artistry.
Last August, the performers and audience of a Free Theatre performance were arrested. (Read the original story, and the theatre’s open letter.) Since then, the international community, including Tom Stoppard, Mick Jagger, Václav Havel and many others, have helped bring attention to the theatre’s struggle to create honest and truthful work.
This interview was recorded between the theatre’s performances at the Under the Radar Festival, part of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ conference, in New York and the Arts in One World conference at Cal Arts, outside of Los Angeles.
In our talk, Nikolai and Natalia examine their own artistic and political journeys, and the revolutionary spirit of their work.
On-site translation provided by Yuri Kaliada.
This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.