Update On Belarus Free Theatre

by Rob Weinert-Kendt

in Advocacy,Global Citizenship

UPDATE: In a turnaround as dramatic as any that fiction could imagine, the Belarus Free Theatre just announced over the weekend that after it leaves New York, it will go to a place that’s safe from the repression back home in Minsk—namely, to Chicago, where Being Harold Pinter will play at the Goodman Theatre, Feb. 1-27. As BFT co-founder Natalia Kolyada told the Chicago Tribune, “They said it is a city where the people love theater. We want to perform for them and give voice to the people back home.”

There’s a good chance that the people back home won’t see much of the Belarus Free Theatre for a good long while: While in Chicago, the company will consider whether to apply for political asylum in the U.S., which means that the benefits that have been and are still being held in New York will go toward helping the company stay Stateside while they figure out their next move (and, implicitly if improbably, to put pressure on Belarus’s Lukashenko regime to make it more attractive for them to return home than to stay in the U.S.).

In another important update, the peaceful protest scheduled for 12 pm on Jan. 19 will be held at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations, 136 East 67th Street, near Lexington Ave. In addition to the Public Theatre, Amnesty International USA will participate in the protest. Those who wish to attned should still text the word “PROTEST” to 27138 to receive timely updates about exact meeting location and any change in plans—though we just received a text today that the protest will go on “rain or shine.” For more information, visit www.amnestyusa.org/eventcenter.