Detained Members and Spectators of Svabodny Teatr set Free. Police Compose Report on Pavel Yukhnevich
Directors, actors and spectators of Svabodny Teatr (Free Theatre) headed by Mikalai Khalezin were set free today from the Savetski district police department in Minsk. At the department the detainees were made to write explanatory notes but the police composed no detention or violation reports. The only report was composed against a youth activist Pavel Yukhnevich, who was kept at the police department longer than other detainees. ‘I think that it is connected to his being a political activist. The police just used this occasion to compose a report on him’, commented Khalezin.
French director Christian Benedetti his assistant Nino Reno, French studio theatre Artoville manager Jerome Inpeledzeri and two teachers of the Dutch higher theatrical school have been discharged as well. Everyone is shocked – it was the first time that the Belarusian special police regiment forcedly dispersed not a peaceful democratic demonstration but a theatric performance (11 Shirts’ play by Edward Bond, staged by the French director).
’Under conditions of not invented but real economic crises all the processes are speeded up and strangely shaped. One of these strange trends is permanent pressing at Svabodny Teatr, at people who are eager to be engaged in free creative work. It seems completely illogical when musicians, theatrical figures, artists appear under the pressing. The state authorities use only the method of stick when dealing with artists thus evolving the unexpected process when artists willing to get engaged in free creative work increase in number. Art cannot be deprived of freedom. And taking into account the fact that creative people are widely supported abroad the state authorities’ image is becoming more and more horrible. It is impossible to imagine that in any other country top figures of the French theatre and Dutch school professorship could have been arrested and then released without even apologizing. I don’t know what to expect from the authorities who are eager to make the artist think to order. That way of development leads to the deadlock,’ Mikalai Khalezin commented.
Svabodny Teatr is going to continue its activities in Belarus. ‘Now protest of creative people from Europe and the USA is expected. Many people all over the world have got to know about the incident, Tom Stoppard and Mick Jagger being among them. Nobody can realize why even non-political performances are banned in our country. We have nothing to do but to continue living and doing our job. And the authorities are to chose the path to follow .And if it is a path of violence then they should drop the subject of the European values,’ Mikalai Khalezin declared.
22 August at 8.30 p.m. the special police regiment intruded a private house in Banhalor Square in Minsk where Svabodny Teatr first night performance of 11 Shirts was on. 50 spectators were detained, among them being Mikalai Khalezin, his spouse Natallia Kaliada, actors of the theater, French director Christian Benedetti, his assistant Nino Reno. French studio theatre Artoville manager Jerome Inpeledzeri and two teachers of the Dutch higher theatrical school.