Belarus: The Power of Theatre, Photography and Public Opinion

ZOiS Forum online | 16 February 2021 | 6:30 pm

With Misha Friedman (Photographer), Natalia Koliada (Belarus Free Theatre) and Gwendolyn Sasse (ZOiS)

© Misha Friedman

The dramatic events in Belarus following the presidential elections of August 2020 were characterised by a high degree of bottom-up creativity. Even prior to this moment of mass mobilisation, Belarusian resistance drew on visual and theatrical means of political engagement, drawing attention to a state and society hidden from view.

This online ZOiS Forum will take a closer look at the role of theatre in subverting authoritarian rule, both from inside and from without. Natalia Koliada, Founding Artistic Director of the Belarus Free Theatre, will discuss the approach of the UK-based Belarus Free Theatre and how its role has changed with recent developments in Belarus. Documentary photographer Misha Friedman brings a visual perspective to the discussion about the politics of art, legacies and the moment of mass mobilization in August 2020. Gwendolyn Sasse, Director of the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) draws on a ZOiS survey conducted in late 2020 in order to contextualise the experiences and expectations of Belarusian society in the wake of the 2020 presidential elections


Misha Friedman is a documentary photographer and and the co-author of „Two Women in Their Time: The Belarus Free Theatre and the Art of Resistance” (The New Press, December 2020).

Natalia Koliada is the Founding Artistic Director of the Belarus Free Theatre.

Gwendolyn Sasse is a political scientist and the research director of the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS)