Postchildhood. Postescape

13th - 14th May 2023

Postchildhood is our new performance about the life and problems of Belarusian and Ukrainian refugee teenagers. Performed not by professional actors, but students of our theatre school Free Artist in Warsaw.

Directed by Pavel Haradnicki, Yulia Shevchuk, Nicolai Khalezin and Svetlana Sugako.

The show has original plot, which was created during classes and rehearsals, and fully consists of personal stories of the students.

Some of these young people are refugees twice. At first, because of unprecedented repressions in Belarus, and then because of the russian war against Ukraine, where their parents have found the first shelter after fleeing Belarus.

Despite those two big catastrophes – the dictatorship and the war, – the performance is mainly about their relationships with parents. It became a place to speak about the most intimate and horrifying personal things, rather than just refugee problems.


Studio Fortinbras

“I divide my life into ‘before’ and ‘after’ Fortinbras – the experience has been priceless. I’ve gained so many useful skills, both professional & personal.” – Fortinbras Alumna

Studio Fortinbras, Belarus Free Theatre’s training and teaching academy in Minsk, was founded by Nicolai Khalezin, together with Natalia Kaliada and Vladimir Shcherban, in 2007.

To this day Fortinbras is the only independent theatre school in Belarus combining drama education with training in activism, journalism and campaigning to create the next generation of socially-engaged artists.

Students describe the school as ‘transformative’ and are encouraged to find their own voices and deepen their engagement with social and political issues.

As part of an intensive two-year programme, students receive 21 hours of training per week – a combination of seminars and masterclasses – with strong practical elements that include both devised performance, and the design and implementation of campaigns.

Past modules at Fortinbras have included:

Citizen Journalism
Human Rights, Civic Activism and Campaigning
Factual/Documentary Theatre
Physical Theatre
Object Theatre
Vocals & Voice Training

More than half of Fortinbras’ 180 graduates are actively involved in civil society organisations, some having established their own. Several students carry on to become full-time ensemble members of Belarus Free Theatre.

For more information on Studio Fortinbras, please contact:

International Summer School

Our two-week residential summer school takes place in the capitals of post-Soviet Union states where participants will be immersed in BFT’s method of ‘artivism’ and explore various drama techniques (devising, documentary, physical theatre etc) while working towards a final project. Participants will also learn about the history and the legacy of the dictatorial rule that oppressed the region for nearly 70 years, and continues to influence life in Belarus to this day.

Dates for our 2023 Summer School will be announced in January 2023. Please sign up to our mailing list, or contact to register your interest.


BFT offers 2-10 week residencies that are a unique opportunities to work in-depth on devising an original performance or project and/or receiving training on all aspects of BFT’s work including arts activism, theatre production and performance, and citizen-led journalism. Activities will be supported by BFT’s Artistic Directors and members of our ensemble. We will work with you to develop the content and objectives for our collaboration. Sample BFT residency activities might include:

  • Short workshops in BFT’s method (3 hours, 2-3 times per week) Based on our Studio Fortinbras curriculum, BFT can offer classes in Documentary, Physical and Object Theatre, Choreography, Voice Work, Citizen Journalism and Art Activism & Campaigning throughout the residency.
  • Final performance with post-show discussion Working on a specific play or creating a devised piece based on the BFT method of études; includes group work and 1-2-1 sessions. The final performance would include a post-show discussion hosed by BFT actors and students/participants.
  • Take-action campaign Developing an artistic stunt that links the production with the real-world, present-day issues in the play, e.g. climate change, gender inequality, domestic abuse, LGBTQI rights. It can be individual or group-led, but the stunt happens in addition to the final show/presentation.


Belarus Free Theatre are one of eight European partner theatres participating in Young Europe IV: the European Theatre Convention (ETC)’s international artistic collaboration project for young audiences. Young Europe IV is a 3-year programme focussing on non-dominant voices in our societies – on stories that aren’t told or could be told more often – by highlighting “forgotten” plays and by writing new ones to be staged in the classroom. Eight emerging playwrights from minority groups in the European theatre canon, will write eight new plays for young audiences (12-25 y) in a trajectory of one year and will be guided, provoked and challenged in their writing process by mentors from across the European theatre scene. The classroom plays will be performed at participating theatres during the final year of the project (2023/24) before being featured at a festival in 2024. Participating


  • De Toneelmakerij (The Netherlands)
  • SNG Nova Gorica (Slovenia)
  • Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Germany)
  • Teatru Malta (Malta)
  • Slovak National Drama Theatre (Slovakia)
  • Belarus Free Theatre (Belarus / UK)
  • Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) (Cyprus)
  • Junges! Staatstheater Braunschweig (Germany)


  • Tomer Pawlicki. Working with De Toneelmakerij
  • Jaka Smerkolj Simoneti. Working with SNG Nova Gorica
  • Tereza Trusinová. Working with Slovak National Drama Theatre
  • Matin Soofipoor Omam. Working with Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
  • Alex Weenink & Kurt Gabriel Meli. Working with Teatru Malta
  • Olya Voronkova. Working with Belarus Free Theatre
  • Zoi Apostolidou. Working with Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC)
  • Emel Aydoğdu. Working with Junges! Staatstheater Braunschweig


  • Patty Kim Hamilton
  • Mohammad Al Attar
  • Dounia Mahammad
  • Dino Pesut

Free Artist

‘Free Artist’ is a theatre school for young people aged 14-17 from Belarus and Ukraine who have migrated to Warsaw, Poland.

Led by BFT’s actors and Studio Fortinbras instructors, 15 participants will devise a short performance over the course of six months, where they will have the opportunity to explore the roles of actor, director, playwright and set designer. The course will finish with the staging of an original performance, based on etudes created by the participants, in front an audience on the stage of the Z. Raszewski in Warsaw.

An important aspect of the school’s programme is a series of interactive trips to Warsaw’s museums, galleries and art studios guided by Polish, Belarusian and international curators, art historians and artists. Each lesson will be about a specific creator and the knowledge and inspiration that participants will gain during the tour will be used to inspire the creation of the theatrical etudes that will build towards a final performance.

The activities on the project are aimed at active social inclusion, inviting young people who have been displaced from their country of origin to meet new people, share their experiences, create and develop ideas.


BFT offers workshops, projects and residencies for youth and community groups, secondary schools, colleges and universities. We work with young people aged 14-25 to share our process of creating theatre and designing artistic stunts and campaign work.