Soho Theatre Event : Belarus Free Theatre Performance Followed By Discussion

Talk Saturday 24 September 2016, 2:30 PM

BFT_BurningDoors_Photo Credit Petr Pavlensky_Design by Michael Cranston_2000pxBelarus Free Theatre joins forces with Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina to share stories of persecuted artists, living under dictatorship, who will not be silenced. Tickets for the performance and the talk need to be purchased separately and via Soho Theatre. Please see details below. 

What happens when you are declared an enemy of the state simply for making art? Where do you belong when your government suppresses your basic right to expression? And how do you survive in one of the most brutal prison systems in the world?

Burning Doors is a blazing new production blending sensuous theatricality and vigorous physicality to shine a light on the suppression of artistic freedoms. The performances draw from the real-life stories of Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky, incarcerated Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Maria Alyokhina, who makes her stage debut.

BFT is the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds. Burning Doors draws on the company’s own experience of political oppression and continues their campaign to stand up for artistic and human rights across the globe, reminding us that theatre can be a revolutionary art.

Venue: Soho Theatre, London
Dates: 31 August – 24 September
Book tickets: 

Every Saturday, the matinee performance (2:30 PM) will be followed by a panel discussion reflecting on the themes around the play. The Frontline Club presents the talk on the 24th of September: Information, Disinformation And The Crisis in Ukraine. 

More than two years have passed since the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. These events not only challenged the post-Cold War European security order, but also brought the fundamental role of media into sharp focus. Manipulation of information and biased reporting has been a key feature. To what extent has the media landscape changed since Maidan? What kind of challenges are associated with Russian disinformation and does it still play a key role in influencing public opinion? And how can the West and civil societies contribute to overcoming these formidable tasks?

The discussion will be chaired by BBC HARDtalk’s presenter Stephen Sackur.


Anne Applebaum is a journalist and Pulitzer prize-winning author of Gulag: A History and Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56. She also directs the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute in London.

Edward Lucas is a senior editor at The Economist and he was the Moscow bureau chief from 1998 to 2002, and thereafter the central and east European correspondent.

Magda Walter is a journalist, media consultant, and communications strategist. She was the NBC News Bureau Chief in Moscow in the late 1990s. In the past five years she has served as the Regional Editor for East and Central Europe for the Mapping Digital Media Study of the Open Society Foundation, and Media Adviser to the feasibility study on Russian language media options conducted by the European Endowment for Democracy.

Mary Dejevsky is a writer and broadcaster. She is a former foreign correspondent in Moscow, Paris and Washington, and a special correspondent in China and many parts of Europe. She is a member of the Valdai Group, invited since 2004 to meet Russian leaders each autumn.

Mikhail Zygar is a Russian journalist and the founder and former Editor in Chief of the only independent TV station in Russia, TV Rain (Dozhd). Previously, he worked for Newsweek Russia and the business daily Kommersant. Zygar was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Venue: Soho Theatre, London
Date: Saturday 24 September 4:30 PM
Tickets: £2.50 (includes a Belarusian snack); Book: