By publishing the following manifesto, Scena.ro magazine joins the international community in supporting the Belarus theatre community in their fight for the freedom of speech.
We, the Belarus Theatre Community, are an independent association of the Belarusian theatre workers who spoke out against the lawlessness and violence of the authorities after the presidential elections in August 2020. We appeal for support and assistance to our colleagues and specialized institutions
around the world.
The goals of our association are:
– the creation of the Belarus Theatre Community to preserve and enhance the cultural heritage of the country;
– the assistance to the repressed theatre workers.
Over the year of the ongoing political crisis in Belarus, repressions by the state against artists who publicly express support for democratic reforms have become systemic. In the first half of 2021 alone, 621 cases of violation of cultural rights and human rights against cultural workers were recorded. As of June 30th 2021, 526 people in Belarus were recognized as political prisoners, 39 of them are cultural workers. 13 people have already been sentenced by the court to prison from 2 to 8 years, 9 people have received 1.5-3 years of probation, 2 people have been given 1-2 years of restriction of freedom without being sent to a correctional institution.
Today, many independent theatre groups and representatives of culture in Belarus are deprived by the state of the possibility to work. Cultural venues are being closed, legal funding opportunities are being rapidly reduced, and non-governmental organizations are being liquidated. Representatives of the theatrical art are fired for political reasons, followed by a ban on future employment.
But we continue to look for possibilities of interaction within the community and support from outside for the development and preservation of the Belarusian theatre, with its significant history, which is now systematically destroyed by state repression. We are appealing to our foreign colleagues and partners for assistance.
Having in our team ambassadors of independent theatre (both in Belarus and abroad), our working group formulated a number of possible formats of cooperation with potential partners, which we are ready to provide to all those who are concerned about the fate of the Belarusian theatre.
If you have possibilities and other ideas, useful contacts and information, you can contact the theatre community volunteers by submitting the application form on the Community’s website or via email: email@example.com
The Belarus Theatre Community