‘Free Theatre’ performs in Kyiv alongside ‘Pussy Riot’ activist and ‘Boombox’ band


Oleg Sentsov and other creative political prisoners, victims of the Russian repressive system, have once again become the topic discussed in Kyiv. However, for the first time it is done by Belarusian actors together with a “Pussy Riot” activist and the Ukrainian band “Boombox”. The Free Theatre brought its famous play to the Ukrainian capital.

The Kyiv based Ivan Franko Theatre hosted the ‘Burning Doors’ — a performance of the underground Belarusian Free Theatre. This is one of the three major theatrical events of 2017 according to the ‘The New York Times’ newspaper.

There are three stories: of the Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky, ‘Pussy Riot’ activists Mariya Alyokhina and the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov sentenced to 20 years in prison. Alyokhina played herself, you could also see the vocalist of the “Boombox” band Andrey Khlyvnyuk, who wrote a song for the ‘Burning Doors’. This is the band’s second co-operation with the Free Theatre.

“It is not just a performance, it has a purpose — to find out the truth about our people, who are the Kremlin’s hostages. I realized that I could not continue to just be creative, doing concerts, be involved in the production business,” said Andrey Khlyvnyuk, the frontman of ‘Boombox’.

‘Burning Doors’ was first shown two years ago in the UK, where the Free Theatre management is based today. Since then the play has been touring the world. The fate of the prisoners was shown to the viewers in Italy, Australia, USA. However, Belarusians who want to see this particular performance either need to go abroad, or watch the broadcast on the Internet.

“When we broadcast this show from London, we had viewers from 22 countries. If you cannot see physically, we organize a live stream,” said Natallya Kalyada, director of the Free Theater.

Free Theatre continues to operate on the territory of Belarus, although it remains in the underground. The theatre management now feels a relief — their actors have not been detained since last year.

“We perform almost every week. We do not have any problems with this, except that we cannot rent premises, sell tickets, we have to perform in the underground, this situation is not changing,” said Nicolai Khalezin, artistic director of the Free Theatre.

In parallel with ‘Burning Doors’ performances, the campaign for the release of political prisoners is underway. All funds collected from the tickets will be given to their families.

Adela Dubavets, belsat.eu

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