bft

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.

What started out as a series of masterclasses delivered by BFT’s friends and supporters – writers, actors, directors and journalists from around the world – soon crystalised into an education programme when it became clear that BFT could not find the kinds of actors they needed through any other routes.

“It is called Fortinbras because Fortinbras knew where to take dead bodies... It was clear to us that the old way of doing theatre was dying.”
Nicolai Khalezin

To this day Studio 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.

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