Belarus Free Theatre (BFT) is the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds. Founded in Minsk in 2005, BFT emerged as a direct challenge to the absolute censorship of freedom of artistic expression in “Europe’s Last Dictatorship”. Soon after its inception, the company was forced underground, faced with harassment and persecution for its role in demanding recognition for those hidden on the margins of an oppressive society.

Described by The New York Times as, “one of the bravest and most inspired underground troupes on the planet”, BFT has originated some of the world’s most provocative and breathtakingly physical theatre – 50 brand new productions performed in more than 40 countries around the globe.

BFT is more than a theatre: alongside exploding taboos on the world stage, the company has pioneered an award-winning global model of activism that unites artistic, geopolitical, environmental and human rights concerns, using theatre to build a movement for democracy, human rights and artistic freedoms.

Since 2011, BFT has pioneered creating theatre at-distance between the UK, which became a second home to co-founding Artistic Directors, Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, and Belarus, where BFT’s 20-strong permanent ensemble campaign, educate and perform every single day of the year.

Awards for BFT include the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic (2007), the Atlantic Council Award (2011), the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent (2018), the Magnitsky Prize for Courage Under Fire (2020) and The Stage International Award (2021).