This new work from Belarus Free Theatre shows Minsk as a “sexy city”, where irrepressible urges to perform, party, love, kiss, touch, look and celebrate human sexuality meet government repression, violence and bureaucracy. Fast paced and witty, a series of scenes portray examples of life in Belarus: the communist factory where illegal parties for the gay community are held in secret at night, the government inspector of strippers, police cars disguised as ambulances who arrive to arrest rather than help. A love letter to a home that exiles those willing to fight for it, Minsk, 2011 celebrates and mourns a land that has lost its way.
Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 in Europe’s last surviving dictatorship by husband and wife team Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, joined shortly afterwards by Vladimir Shcherban. All company members together with audiences have been arrested, lost their jobs, been forced into hiding or exile for making theatre.
Despite this, the company continues to develop award-winning work with the support of artists around the world. They were nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Being Harold Pinter after they performed in New York with the Public Theatre and LaMama, and in May 2011 they were awarded an OBIE, the most prestigious American Off-Broadway Award for Being Harold Pinter, Discover Love and Zone of Silence.
Their Global Artistic Campaign has attracted the support of thousands of artists internationally including Tom Stoppard, Steven Spielberg, Jude Law, David Lan, Kevin Spacey, Mick Jagger and Vaclav Havel.
Founded in 2004 and led by Louise Blackwell and Kate McGrath, Fuel is a producing organisation working with contemporary theatre artists to develop, create and present new work. Their recent productions include work by Inua Ellams (The Black T-Shirt Collection); Melanie Wilson (Autobiographer); Requardt & Rosenberg (Electric Hotel) Sound & Fury (Going Dark) and Uninvited Guests (Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, Make Better Please).
Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker is at Manchester's Contact Theatre from 6 - 7 June.
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