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Production description

This production of King Lear by the Belarus Free Theatre was first staged at the Globe Theatre in London as part of the 2012 Globe to Globe Festival (April 23 to June 9), and brought back to the Globe in 2013 (September 23 to 28). A theatre in exile from a totalitarian state, the Belarus Free Theatre drew on the history of reading Shakespeare in the Soviet Union, as well as on the current situation in Belarus, to comment on the cruelty, violence, and individual vulnerability generated under the conditions of dictatorship. At the same time, as Natalia Kaliada, a co-founder of the group, says in the interview with Ella Parry-Davis, the performance is also intended to remind the audience about the power of theatre itself: “We perform as an act of non-violent resistance, and to prove that we as theatre makers are much stronger than any dictatorship in the world.”

Translation and Text Adaptation by Nikolai Khalezin and Vladimir Shcherban

Directed by Vladimir Shcherban

The original cast includes Aleh Sidorchyk, Pavel Radak-Haradnitski, Viktoryia Biran, Maryna Yurevich, Yana Rusakevich, Dzianis Tarasenka.

Online Reviews:

Andrew Dickson, “King Lear – Review”
The Guardian, May 23, 2012
[see also Anthony Howard’s comment below the post]

Andrew Haydon, “Belarusian King Lear – The Globe”
Postcards from the Gods, May 19, 2012

Reviewed by Lauren Mooney, “King Lear at Globe Theatre”
Exeunt Magazine, 23-28 September, 2013

Natalia Khomenko, “Shakespeare’s Shadow: The Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear at the Globe Theatre”


Ella Parry-Davies
“The Total Immersion Method” (Interview with Natalia Kaliada, co-founder of Belarus Free Theatre)
Exeunt Magazine, September 19, 2013


Dangerous Acts: Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus, dir. Madeleine Sackler (2013)


Keren Zaiontz, “The Right to the Theatre: The Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear,” in Shakespeare beyond English: Global Experiment, ed. Susan Bennett and Christie Carson (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013), 195-207.


Natalia Khomenko prepared the metadata for this production. She is an Instructor at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she received her Ph.D. in English in 2013. Her research interests include early modern drama, hagiographic and martyrological literature, literary adaptation, and Global Shakespeare studies. Her current project explores the cult of Shakespeare in the Soviet Union, and the strategies of selective reading and active refashioning used to produce ideologically sound socialist versions of Shakespearean drama.


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    King Lear by the Belarus Free Theatre

    Shcherban, Vladimir | Productions
    London,United Kingdom

    Source: Courtesy of Belarus Free Theatre