Somewhere To Believe In

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Democracy with Natalia Kaliada

Season 2, Ep. 4

This week’s podcast episode is a very important one, so let’s get straight to it. Katherine and Paul speak to writer, human rights campaigner, political refugee, theatre-maker and ‘public enemy’ to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus, Natalia Kaliada.


Natalia is a founding Co-Artistic Director of Belarus Free Theatre, a collective of artists who use the power of theatre to fight for democracy in Belarus and oppose what’s known as ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’.


We hear about Natalia’s own experiences living a not-so-censored life under an oppressive regime. Including her exile to London and how she continues to fight the same fight her ancestors did (her grandfather survived German concentration camps and Soviet gulags before ever Alexander Lukashenko came to dictatorial rule in his beloved Belarus). Resistance is seemingly in her DNA.


Natalia shares the stories of the Belarus protesters, 15,000 of whom have been imprisoned, raped or killed by the Belarus government this year. We hear how theatre has helped some of them through their imprisonment and how Belarus Free Theatre continues to use art as a tool to take down the dictatorship.


Katherine and Paul reflect on the importance of this conversation and how now, more than ever, we need to stand with the people of Belarus; not just to demand democracy for them, but to actively protect democracy around the world for everyone.


Links, resources and episode timestamps (for all you skippers out there) below.

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ABOUT NATALIA

Natalia Kaliada is a founding Co-Artistic Director of Belarus Free Theatre as well as a writer, human rights campaigner and producer and is one of the most outspoken critics of Belarus’s repressive regime.


Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 in Europe's last surviving dictatorship, by Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin. BFT’s performances take place in selected secret venues around Minsk with audiences alerted to their existence by text message or e-mail. Although forced to operate under cover within Belarus, the Theatre has travelled widely and has gained a growing international reputation. They continue to create exceptional theatre under near impossible conditions underground in Belarus. The company has found a home as associate artists of the Young Vic, London.


Natalia Kaliada has been detained, arrested without access to counsel and threatened with rape for her participation in peaceful rallies that were called “subversive” activities and “unstable elements” by the Belarusian authorities. After the tragic events in Belarus in 2010, she and her husband were smuggled out of Belarus and now live in exile in London.

Website: https://www.belarusfreetheatre.com/

Instagram: @belarusfreetheatre

Facebook: @belarusfreetheatre

Twitter: @BFreeTheatre

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TAKE ACTION


Support Belarus Free Theatre http://www.belarusfreetheatre.com/ 


I’m with the Banned http://www.belarusfreetheatre.com/en/bft/imwiththebanned/#Banned 


Ask your local MP to add “major scumbags” who support Lukashenko’s regime to a sanctions list so their assets will be frozen.

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LINKS AND RESOURCES


Belarus Free Theatre https://www.belarusfreetheatre.com/ 


Ministry Of Counterculture https://moc.media/


Who is long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko? https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/07/belarus-presidential-election-who-is-long-time-leader-alexander-lukashenko 


Who is Svetlana Tikhanovskaya? https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/world/europe/belarus-opposition-svetlana-tikhanovskaya.html


Alexander Lukashenko on Coronavirus https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/coronavirus-belarus-alexander-lukashenko-vodka-sauna-countryside-tractors-a9434426.html 


Natalia on Bruatility https://euobserver.com/opinion/149384 


Brutality in Belarus https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53776461 


Belarus bans two opposition candidates https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/14/belarus-bans-two-opposition-candidates-from-running-in-elections


Balaklava Blues http://www.balaklavablues.com/ 


Balaklava Blues at Greenbelt https://www.greenbelt.org.uk/artists/balaklava-blues-presented-by-belarus-free-theatre/ 


Generation Jeans https://theconversation.com/denim-and-revolution-belarus-free-theatres-generation-jeans-resonates-101442 


Being Harold Pinter https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03bcpyk 


Red Forest http://totaltheatre.org.uk/belarus-free-theatre-red-forest/ 


Discover Love https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038x587 


Trash Cuisine https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038x5sq 


Burning Doors https://www.vulture.com/2017/10/theater-review-burning-doors-is-a-fiery-anti-putin-scream.html 


Dogs of Europe https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2020/event/belarus-free-theatre-dogs-of-europe  


Belarus: thousands protest against death of teacher in police custody https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/15/belarus-thousands-protest-against-death-of-teacher-in-police-custody 


Is Protest Art Just Propaganda? Or is All Art a Form of Protest? https://www.greenbelt.org.uk/talks/is-protest-art-just-propaganda-or-is-all-art-a-form-of-protest/ 

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00:00 - Welcome to Somewhere To Believe In

01:00 - Introducing Natalia and the work do Belarus Free Theatre

05:36 - Natalia joins the conversation

06:44 - Natalia on Belarus Free Theatre

11:20 - Natalia on generations of resistance

16:12 - Natalia on a lifetime of fighting for democracy

21:50 - Natalia on western democracy and dictatorship

29:24 - Natalia on 2020 in Belarus

41:11 - Natalia on theatre as protest

49:07 - How to support Belarus Free Theatre

51:36 - Katherine and Paul reflect on the conversation with Natalia

1:05:40 - Coming up next week

1:06:09 - How to get in touch with us

1:06:56 - Thank you’s

1:07:29 - Hidden track

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A huge thanks to the Greenbelt Volunteer Talks Team for all their hard work on editing this episode. Our podcast music is ‘I Can Change’ by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires.

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https://www.greenbelt.org.uk/

#SomewhereToBelieveIn

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