Free Theatre of Belarus
A look at the struggle for freedom of expression and the power of art.
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2010 14:26 GMT

Watch part two

Belarus is said to be Europe's last dictatorship, a country damned as an outpost of tyranny by the US.

Despite some slight easing of tension with the West in recent years, Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, still rules his country with an iron fist.

Critics of his regime fear for their lives when they voice their opposition.

But despite these oppressive conditions, Belarus is home to an extraordinary underground theatre group, a band of dedicated actors who use their creative force to speak out for democracy.

Banned by the authorities and performing secretly in private houses, the troup has no regular base, gets no press reviews and the audiences are kept in the dark about the venue until the very last minute. Each performance could be their last.

In Free Theatre of Belarus, Witness follows Elyssa Livergant, an acclaimed Canadian playwriter and theatre teacher, as she secretly travels from London to Minsk to collaborate with the Free Theatre of Belarus. 

It is a rare glimpse into this closed society, a powerful testament to the struggle for freedom of expression, and a moving story about the power of art. 

Free Theatre of Belarus can be seen from Thursday, April 29, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0830 and 1900; Friday: 0330, 1400 and 2330.

Al Jazeer
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.