28-30 Nov 2010. The contemporary drama festival organised by the Associazione Cadmo in collaboration with the city is back, with a focus on Belarus this year. For the first time in Rome, the Belarus Free Theatre will be on stage with Zone of Silence (28, 29 Nov) and Discover Love (30 Nov).
The activity of this underground theatre company began in March 2005, during the second term of President Alexander Lukashenko, as an artistic means of resisting government pressure and censorship. Founded by playwrights Nikolai Khalezin and his wife, the theatre producer Natalia Koliada, the team was subsequently joined by stage director Vladimir Scherban, who has produced the majority of Free Theatre performances.
Under the current political system, Belarus Free Theatre has no official registration, no premises, nor any other facilities. Rehearsals and performances (always free of charge for the public) are normally held secretly in small private apartments, which, due to security and the risk of persecution, must constantly be changed.
Staff members have been repeatedly harassed by the authorities and many have been sacked from their jobs at state-run theatres. In the years since its beginnings, the company has received the support of important personalities such as Vaclav Havel, Mick Jagger, Ariane Mnouchkine, Mark Ravenhill, Tom Stoppard and Harold Pinter. Performances are in Belarusian with Italian subtitles.