The accident at the nuclear power station in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986 affected 60% of the landmass in Belarus and turned the forest red. Radioactive contamination led to a massive rise in birth defects and cases of thyroid and other life-threatening cancers and related deaths – though the exact numbers are contested. A new nuclear power station is now being completed in Astravets in Belarus, which is on the border of the EU and Lithuania. It was funded by a $10 billion loan from Moscow; its general contractor is Atomstroyexport, an affiliate of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom. It has failed to meet international and European safety standards concerning environmental impact and public involvement in the consultation process. Many fear that another Chrenobyl is in the making.
BFT’s stage production, Red Forest, and accompanying Red Line campaign highlights the work of Tatiana Novikova and her colleagues in Belarus to stop the construction of a new power station by Russia on the Belarusian border with Lithuania, to end the use of fossil fuels in the UK and to oppose TTIP, the now-defunct Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The Play: Red Forest
BFT members grew up with the horrors of Chernobyl, and with this first-hand experience the company undertook a research trip to many different countries to meet people whose lives and livelihoods had been destroyed as the result of dirty, dangerous energy production and displacement as a result of climate change. Red Forest brings the people they met and the stories they told together in a modern day epic for the 21st century.
Read more about the real people whose stories appear in Red Forest:
Public Stunt: Drawing The Red Line
Audience members, members of the public, friends and supporters were invited to help BFT ensemble members draw a red line against dirty, unsafe energy across the length of the Millennium Bridge in London which is 300 metres long. The event sought to raise awareness of the threat to the future of clean air in Europe, and link to other environmental campaigns – including the European petition against TTIP – relevant to the town or city where Red Forest was being performed. After London, the campaign was rolled out in Scotland, Italy and Sweden in conjunction with Vivienne Westwood’s campaign to ban fracking.