Natalia Koliada, Nikolai Khalezin and Vladmir Shcherban (Belarus Free Theatre)
Natalia Koliada is a co-artistic director and producer of Belarus Free Theatre alongside her husband Nicolai. Natalia has been detained three times for participation in peaceful political and theatrical activities. She was the first person to be detained at a street protest against enforced disappearances in Belarus. She was convicted for publishing the Monitoring of Human Rights on the Internet. Her father, professor Andrei Kaliada, was dismissed from the Academy of the Arts for cooperation with Belarus Free Theatre and was physically attacked as a result; the criminal investigation case on it was closed down. Natalia has been co-producer with Nicolai Khalezin all BFT productions, including the latest King Lear for the “Globe to Globe” Festival for the Cultural Olympics in London, and Trash Cuisine.
Nicolai Khalezin is a co-artistic director of Belarus Free Theatre, playwright and journalist. Nicolai was arrested four times for participation in peaceful political protest rallies and theatrical activities. He was taken to trial for organising a peaceful political street rally. His plays are forbidden to be staged in Belarus. In summer 2010 he was attacked outside his house. The criminal investigation case on the attack was closed down. Nicolai is the author of 14 plays including Generation Jeans and Here I Am, and has won numerous awards recognizing his contribution to humanitarian theatre. See Natalia’s biography for co-productions under Belarus Free Theatre. Directed and adapted Trash Cuisine, dedicated to the international issue of the death penalty, which sold out at the Young Vic in London in 2013.
Vladimir Shcherban is an associate director and deviser of a majority of BFT shows. He became a director at the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theatre in 1999 but was dismissed in 2006 for his cooperation with Belarus Free Theatre. Various performances by Shcherban in Belarus have been cancelled and he has been detained for his professional activities. In 2008, together with Nicolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada, he helped found Fortinbras, the only underground arts school in Belarus. Productions directed for Belarus Free Theatre include: 4.48. Psychosis; We.Self-Indentification; We.Belliwood; Technique of Breezing in a Vacuum; Zone of Silence; Being Harold Pinter; A Flower for Pina Bausch; New York ’79; Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker, as well as King Lear for the “Globe to Globe” Festival for the Cultural Olympics in London, premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2012 and brought back for a week’s run in 2013. His production of “Beloved Ones and Siblings” was directed by him for BFT via Skype from London with actors underground in Belarus.