Belarusian Theatre and the 2020 Pro-Democracy Protests

Belarusian Theatre and the 2020 Pro-Democracy Protests

Documenting the Resistance

By Valleri J Robinson

This book highlights the important creative work of Belarusian theatre and filmmakers seeking to raise awareness of the Pro-democracy movement and human rights abuses in Belarus and to build communities of care and mourning following the fraudulent 2020 presidential elections in Belarus.

EPUB, 250 Pages

ISBN:9781839987960

April 2024

£19.99, $23.80

PDF, 250 Pages

ISBN:9781839987977

April 2024

£19.99, $23.80

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

This book explores and documents the performances of resistance and memory in key works by the Belarus Free Theatre and film director Aliaksei Paluyan, the Belarusian playwright Andrei Kureichik, and the Kupalautsy theatre in the aftermath of the protests against Belarusian dictator Aliaksandr Lukashenka and the fraudulent presidential elections of 2020. The book examines the work of these artists to document the events in Belarus in order to bring international attention to the 2020 crisis in Belarus, to build community among Belarusians and global supporters of the Pro-democracy movement, and to collectively mourn the traumatic experience of participants, political prisoners, and those who lost their lives in the struggle.
The analysis builds on digital and film performances along with personal interviews, published interviews and reviews, manifestoes, and hundreds of scholarly and newspaper articles. The introduction to the book provides the historical context for understanding these critical performances and the political and cultural events in Belarus before, during, and after the contested election of 2020. Each chapter centers on a few key works by Belarusian theatre artists, primarily in exile, that demonstrate the impulse to document the events and sustain community affectively through theatre after the fraudulent 2020 presidential election. These performances demonstrate the resolve to verify their experiences of those “who spoke out against the lawlessness and violence of the authorities” before disinformation campaigns and emerging events in the region threaten to misrepresent this important historical moment.

Reviews

“An important and comprehensive overview of independent Belarusian theatre of resistance. An inspiring guide to what theatre can really be.”—Vladimir Shcherban, Theatre Director

Valleri J. Robinson’s important book tills fascinating new ground, revealing the role committed theatre artists played in Belarus’ tragic struggle against tyranny commencing in 2020. This is the powerful tale of an artistic community standing tall in dangerous times for the cause of liberty.—John Freedman, founder, Worldwide Play Readings, Belarus and Ukraine.

Valleri J. Robinson’s book takes readers on a captivating exploration of the dramatic and dynamic history of modern Belarusian theatre. The author paints a vivid picture of theatrical protest and the pursuit of artistic freedom in the most closed totalitarian state of twenty-first century Europe. In the book, the author pays tribute to the remarkable qualities of Belarusian theatregoers and theatre professionals, portraying them as real-life heroes—Andrei Kureichik, Belarusian playwright and director, Fortunoff Fellow and Lecturer at Yale University.

This book focuses on the activities of the Belarusian intelligentsia against the Belarusian regime. It shows the strength and power of the opposition, which will never come to terms with the fact that the regime present in Belarus has usurped power—Professor Andriej Moskwin, University of Warsaw, Poland.

This book focuses on the activities of the Belarusian intelligentsia against the Belarusian regime. It shows the strength and power of the opposition, which will never come to terms with the fact that the regime present in Belarus has usurped power—Professor Andriej Moskwin, University of Warsaw, Poland.

This short form book introduces the reader to significant Belarusian theatre artists who have put their lives at risk for the right to be free and the upholding of liberal democratic values. The book offers new insights to those familiar with the Belarus Free Theatre or the recent plays of Andrei Kureichik which inspired the Worldwide Play Readings Project: Belarus and Ukraine— Dr. Bryan Brown, University of Exeter, UK. 

I believe Belarusian political exiles as well as people from the region who had to leave it for various reasons will be interested in reading this book. It looks at the more recent period of Belarus’ history. It also focuses specifically on the art of protest and its representatives—Dr. Yana Meerzon, University of Ottawa, Canada.

Author Information

Valleri Robinson, Department Head and Associate Professor of Illinois Theatre, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, writes and teaches about documentary theatre, 21st-century dramaturgies, and Eastern European diasporic performance. Robinson is author of Russian Culture and Theatrical Performance in America, 1891-1933 (2011).

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Table of Contents

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