August. A play by the independent Belarusian theatre

Where: Warszawa, Łódź

Instytut Teatralny im. Zbigniewa Raszewskiego, ul. Jazdów 1, Warszawa

Centrum Dialogu im. Marka Edelmana, Wojska Polskiego 83, Łódź


Centrum Mieroszewskiego, BY teatr, Instytut Teatralny, Centrum Dialogu im. Marka Edelmana, Nowy Teatr

Language: białoruski, polski

On 25 March - the Day of Freedom (Day of Will), a Belarusian holiday not recognised by the regime government of Alaksandr Lukashenka - and one day later, on 26 March, we invited to a play by a Belarusian group - BY theatre.

This is the first event with which BY theatre started its activity on 25 March 2023, Belarusian Independence Day. The creative collective of the performance performs as a group of anonymous artists for security reasons.

In collaboration with the Theatre Institute, the New Theatre and the Mark Edelman Centre for Dialogue, we showed the performance 'August' (translated by Agnieszka Sowinska). 

Using the example of an ordinary Belarusian family, the play refers to the protests in Belarus in 2020. It explores the collective trauma that needs to be understood and worked through in order to internally survive this endless August (which never ended for the people who remained in Belarus) and move forward on the path of change.

The dramaturgical axis of the text focuses on the relationship between the citizen and the oppressive state, social conflicts, personal choices and the plight of those involved in protests against the dictatorship, allowing us to better understand their situation and - despite the complexity - to point out the legitimacy and importance of the citizens' protest.

Currently, according to statistics, more than 70 000 Belarusians live in Poland. After the suppression of the protests in Belarus in 2020, Poland became a country where many Belarusians who opposed the illegal elections found asylum and assistance. Among them were also many theatre people - actors, directors, playwrights. Later, they were also joined by many opponents of Belarus' participation in the war with Ukraine.

One effective way of integrating the Belarusian diaspora into Polish society is through theatre, where Belarusians can talk about themselves and what is happening in Belarus.

BY theatre is a theatrical community which brings together playwrights, directors, actors, artists, choreographers and other theatre people who had to leave Belarus. They want to develop the project of Belarusian theatre on a multicultural basis, preserving its specificity, identity and language.

The event was under the media patronage of Belsat TV.