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Belarus/UK // Theatre  
Belarus Free Theatre

Burning Doors

An explosive demonstration of the power of artistic resistance drawing on the real-life stories of Petr Pavlensky, Oleg Sentsov, and special guest Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina

June 20 - 24, 2018

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Post show talk

   

Join The New York Times Theatre Critic Ben Brantley in conversation with Natalia Kaliada and Maria Alyokhina after the June 21 performance

Subtitles

   

Performed in Russian with English surtitles.

No photography

   

The show contains nudity and scenes of violence and torture.

Hearing Device

   

Burning Doors is accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. Hearing assistance devices are available upon request.

Join The New York Times Theatre Critic Ben Brantley in conversation with Natalia Kaliada and Maria Alyokhina after the June 21 performance.

Ben Brantley has been the chief theatre critic of The New York Times since 1996, filing reviews regularly from London as well as New York. He is the author of two books and a recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for theatre criticism. Subjects of his profiles include Belarus Free Theatre for which he travelled to Minsk.

Imagine being declared an enemy of the state simply for making art. Where is the space for freedom when the government suppresses your basic right to self-expression? How do you survive in the world’s most brutal prison systems?

★★★★ A scorching piece of theatre: uncompromising, urgent and angry.
– Financial Times

Belarus Free Theatre — one of the leading refugee-led theatre companies in the United Kingdom and the only theatre in Europe currently banned by its own government on political grounds — combines forces with Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina to disclose stories of persecuted artists who will not be silenced. Drawn from the lives of Alyokhina, Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky, and incarcerated Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, Burning Doors uses Belarus Free Theatre’s own experience of political oppression and supports their campaign for artistic freedom and human rights across the globe.
 
The Canadian debut of this blazing, taboo-busting production, named one of the 10 best theatre pieces of 2017 by The New York Times, will spark conversations long after the show ends and remind us just how precious freedom is.

More
Burning Doors was created in partnership with ArtReach as part of Journey Festival International 2016; co-commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne, and developed at Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA). Burning Doors is generously supported by Arts Council England.
Burning Doors image
Belarus Free Theatre

Burning Doors

An explosive demonstration of the power of artistic resistance drawing on the real-life stories of Petr Pavlensky, Oleg Sentsov, and special guest Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina

Buy Tickets

Select a performance

Performance: Wednesday, June 20, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:45 PM
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera centre
Seats Going Fast! BuyBook Now
Performance: Thursday, June 21, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:45 PM
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera centre
Seats Going Fast! BuyBook Now
Performance: Friday, June 22, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:45 PM
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera centre
Seats Going Fast! BuyBook Now
Performance: Saturday, June 23, 2018
1:00 PM - 2:45 PM
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera centre
Seats Going Fast! BuyBook Now
Performance: Saturday, June 23, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:45 PM
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera centre
Seats Going Fast! BuyBook Now
Performance: Sunday, June 24, 2018
1:00 PM - 2:45 PM
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera centre
Seats Going Fast! BuyBook Now
WITH SUPPORT FROM
British Council

Reviews

“This is a smart, smoldering, physically brutal piece of theater.”
– Vulture
“Provides vital context of the deep courage and belief in freedom of artists.”
– The Guardian
“This is bold, striking, searing performance art. Never has your own freedom felt so precious.”
– The Review Hub
“Belarus Free Theatre’s bruising exploration of the dynamics of resistance — the kind that occurs in the intersection of art and politics”
– The New York Times
“A forceful, intense excavation of freedom. A stark reminder of the real human cost of art in places that are not that far away.”
– What’s on Stage
“A fiery work of protest theatre that fuses brutality and poetry, philosophy and irreverent satire”
– Sydney Morning Herald

Creative Team

About Belarus Free Theatre

Belarus Free Theatre is the only theatre company in Europe banned by its government on political grounds. Founded in Minsk in 2005, BFT emerged as a direct challenge to the absolute censorship of freedom of artistic expression in “Europe’s Last Dictatorship”. The company was quickly forced underground, faced with harassment and persecution for its role in challenging the status quo and demanding recognition for those hidden on the margins of an oppressive society. In 2011, the company’s three artistic leaders, Natalia Kaliada, Nicolai Khalezin and Vladimir Shcherban, were forced into exile. Becoming political refugees in the UK, BFT was given a home in The Young Vic in London. Since then Belarus Free Theatre has worked across borders to create, campaign and educate – building a movement for democratisation, human rights and artistic freedom.

In Minsk, where the company is outlawed, BFT’s permanent ensemble continues to perform over 100 times each year and carries out daily teaching and education projects for young artists and activists through its academy Studio Fortinbras. Rehearsing between the UK and Belarus by Skype, the company performs in temporary, underground spaces, constantly on the run. BFT’s audience, “the bravest audiences in the world”, face potential arrest and detention simply for turning up to a performance attending a performance.

Internationally, Belarus Free Theatre tour, perform and campaign extensively for social justice and the protection of people stigmatised and ostracised by their societies. Belarus Free Theatre believes that although dictatorship and restrictions to free expression exist in their absolute form in Belarus, we must continue to challenge and resist the limits to artistic freedom and barriers to mutual understanding wherever they occur.

DEVISED AND PERFORMED BY
Belarus Free Theatre

DIRECTED BY
Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin

PERFORMERS
Maria Akyokhina
Pavel Haradnitski
Siarhei Kvachonak
Kiryl Masheka
Maryia Sazonava
Stanislava Shablinskaya
Andrei Urazau
Yuliya Shauchuk

Dig Deeper

The New York Times Theatre Critic Ben Brantley in conversation with Natalia Kaliada and Maria Alyokhina
June 21 (post-performance of Burning Doors)

Ben Brantley has been the chief theatre critic of The New York Times since 1996, filing reviews regularly from London as well as New York. He is the author of two books and a recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for theatre criticism. Subjects of his profiles include Belarus Free Theatre for which he travelled to Minsk.