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maski.gif (3371 bytes) Belarusian Theatre

The tradition of Belarusian theatre is very ancient. It has started in the early middle ages as folk puppet theatres - Batlejka - and folk drama (usually biblical and knighthood plots), played during different seasonal celebrations. In general all of the traditional Belarusian celebrations and games have a theatrical element. During such holidays as Kaliady, Kupalle, Maslianitsa - folks are dressing as fantastic animals and persons enacting different strange situations. Who would think for example of setting up a humorous burial and wake?!

        Later this tradition was refined in a Renaissance Belarus which was at the time the cultural center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Multitude of the Belarusian cities had a Magdeburg Right with growing population of traders and craftsmen who needed entertainment. The powerful Belarusian gentry (magnats) had their own court theatres where Italian singers and French actors were invited to perform. For example at the height of its flourishing the Slonim Opera and Ballet Private Theatre of Ahinski  aristocratic family had 300 performers! The ballet troop of Slonim theatre later served as a nucleus for a famous St. Petersburg Mariinski Theatre that started Russian school of ballet.

        Today theatre is very popular in Belarus. I have been visiting the international theatrical festival in Hrodna ("Baltic Spring") and the theatres  were completely sold out even during the hard times in which we are now! 

Belarusian Theatre News

“My impressions from the visit to Belarus differ from impressions which I had in the Soviet Union and the Czech Republic: the fear is hidden inside,” told the acclaimed British playwright after his visit to Belarus. Tom Stoppard visited Minsk from August 28 to September 2 on personal invitation of the director of the project “Free Theater” Natalya Kolyada and playwright Nikolay Khalezin. The great British dramatist, together with the former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel and American playwright Arthur Kopit, is one of the trustees of the project “Free Theatre”. On one of the days of the visit Tom Stoppard met representatives of the civil initiative Charter’97, the youth resistance movement “Zubr”, students of the Belarusian Humanitarian Lyceum, intellectuals.

  • Accidental tyranny 
    Saturday October 1, 2005
    The Guardian
    Belarus is one of the most repressive and bizarre regimes in Europe. But Tom Stoppard, on a recent trip to the capital, Minsk, found a thriving opposition and a hunger for art that challenges the 'national psychosis'

...In the audience of 70 people, two or three cameras clack and flash, even when, finally, the actors are stripped to black thongs. There is no stage, no set. The play ends in candlelight.

watch me vanish

watch me 


watch me

watch me


It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind

please open the curtains

The actors blow out their candles. The performance is over, and the lights beam on to the national psychosis that is the present condition of Belarus, a country with more policemen per capita than anywhere else in the world and a feeling that no one knows where it is."

maski.gif (3371 bytes)Free Theatre website - renown Belarusian underground theatre that has earned so many critical acclaims and is known quite well in Europe.

maski.gif (3371 bytes)"Our Theatre" Belarusian theatrical web portal - theatrical news, schedules, announcements, etc.

Below are the links to pages on Belarusian Theatre:

maski.gif (3371 bytes) Theatre "Free Scene" ("Vol'naia Scena"), also here and here.

maski.gif (3371 bytes) The National Academic Yanka Kupala Theatre, also here

maski.gif (3371 bytes) Theatre of Belarusian Dramaturgy

maski.gif (3371 bytes) National Belarusian Ballet Theatre

maski.gif (3371 bytes) The National Academic Opera Theatre of Belarus

maski.gif (3371 bytes) The Yakub Kolas Academic Drama Theatre plays Belarusian repertoire

maski.gif (3371 bytes) The State Puppet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus

maski.gif (3371 bytes) The National Academic Drama Theatre named after M.Gorky plays Russian repertoire

maski.gif (3371 bytes) Republican Theatre of Belarusian Drama

maski.gif (3371 bytes)  Hrodna Voblasc' Drama Theatre

maski.gif (3371 bytes) "Yavaryna" -  the Early Theatre in Belarus

maski.gif (3371 bytes)  IV Minsk festival of mono-plays «Я» ("Me") 

This file is a part of the Virtual Guide to Belarus - a collaborative project of Belarusian scientists and professionals  abroad. VG brings you the most extensive compilation of the information about Belarus on the Web.
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