Our Friends in Belarus Aug 20, 2020

Why are our windows lit up red and white? For Belarus.

Managing Directors Svetlana Sugako and Nadezhda Brodskaya appealed to On the Boards this week, shortly after they were released from jail for protesting government corruption and electrion fraud.

They called to us, and to all the venues in their global community where Belarus Free Theater has performed to light up their windows red and white, and to speak out in their communities in support of free elections, and a world where artists can help people imaging a world without violence and corruption.

When Belarus Free Theater performed at On the Boards in 2017 with Burning Doors -- we were blown away by the skill and power of their performance. One thing that remains indelible in our minds is when they shared with On the Boards staff that they could never perform in actual theaters in Belarus -- only in secret places like garages and homes. Making theater, making their art is illegal there, and considered a crime that merits imprisonment and abuse.

Belarus Free Theatre is an award-winning refugee-led theatre company in the U.K. and the only theatre in Europe banned by its own government on political grounds. Founded on principles of freedom of speech and artistic expression. Its focus is on social justice, taboo zones and violation of human rights across the globe, with an approach akin to investigative journalism. Their transnational campaigns and theatre educational programs encourage people to find their own voice within society and to develop a deeper engagement with social and political issues.