Creating provocative theatre carries great personal risks: emotional, financial and artistic. In Belarus, there are additional risks: censorship, imprisonment, and the fear of worse.
Belarus is governed by Europe’s last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. In the run-up to the 2010 presidential election and for a year afterwards, filmmaker Madeleine Sackler followed the trials and tribulations of the Belarus Free Theatre, an underground theatre company based in Minsk and led by Natalia and Nikolai.
The elections were followed by demonstrations. Although the protests were violently crushed, it marked the start of a tumultuous year of unrest, fear, arrests and intimidation. The Belarus Free Theatre decided to move abroad and use theatre to draw attention to the situation in Belarus. Sackler followed their rehearsals, their emotional conversations with the home front, and their successful performances.
Some of the actors are still in exile, but others are continuing to make underground theatre in Belarus, in the hope that someday things will change.
Directed by Madeleine Sackler