YLE and the National Theatre present works by Artists at Risk (AR)-Resident Andrei Kureichik on political terrorism in Belarus
The Finnish National Theatre and Finnish public radio station, YLE Radio 1 will be showcasing “Voices of New Belarus” and “Insulted. Belarus(sia) (Обиженные. Беларусь (сия), 2020″ by Belarusian AR-Resident Andrei Kureichik beginning Friday, 26 November 2021.
Voices of New Belarus is a collection of the personal testimonies of persons who have fallen victim to political terrorism under the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. Co-produced by Yle Drama, the Finnish National Theatre and Artists at Risk (AR), this audio adaptation of Kureichik’s latest documentary play will be brought to life by leading Finnish actors. Listeners will gain intimate insights and understanding of the stories of those struggling in the midst of societal upheaval against “Europe’s last dictator”. Some of the play’s heroes, notably Maria Kolesnikova and Nikolai Statkevich, are internationally recognized prisoners of conscience who are currently being prosecuted in closed courts in Belarus.
While the piece centers around present day Belarus, it also serves as a reminder of the fragility of democracy, something that we often take for granted. The premiere will take place on November 26th as part of the International Days of Solidarity with Belarusian Political Prisoners announced by Belarusian democratic opposition leader, Svetlana Tsihanouskaya.
In the prologue to Voices of New Belarus he writes:
“Usually, the process of writing a play involves tuning the imagination and artistically shaping reality, where reality is just a tool for expressing one’s own ideas, thoughts, and feelings. With this text, however, everything is different. It is my first work in which I have completely refused to produce the text myself. Sometimes the truth needs nothing more than to be told verbatim. Voices of New Belarus is a collective recognition of a nation that has been beaten, raped, humiliated and killed. It is compiled from letters, public interviews, and witness statements from political prisoners and other Belarusians who have suffered repression from the country’s administration. The stories contribute to building a documentary about an era – a documentary of historical significance.”
Voices of New Belarus will also be presented as part of an audio and video installation under the same name at the Helsinki Music Hall from December 27-31, 2021. It will also be available at the Yle Areena beginning 26th November, 2021 at 21:30.
Author: Andrei Kureichik
Performers: Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Miika Piekkala, Emilia Sinisalo, Maria Kuusiluoma, Ylermi Rajamaa, Jukka Voutilainen, Pyry Nikkilä, Janne Reinikainen, Pyry Äikää, Markku Maalismaa, Antti Pääkkönen, Marjaana Kuusniemi, Niina Koponen, Pirjo Luoma-aho, Petri Manninen, Jussi Lehtonen among others.
Flute: Eveliina Solja. Electric guitar, bass and sounds: Dmitri Plax (Belarus)
Translations to Finnish from Russian: Joel Lehtonen and Martti-Tapio Kuuskoski
Director: Soila Valkama
Assistant Director: Jussi Lehtonen
Sound Design: Tiina Luoma
Production: National Theatre: Roosa Vaverka / Radio Theatre: Soila Valkama / Artist at Risk (AR): Annu Kemppainen.
The Finnish reading of another of Andrei’s plays, Insulted. Belarus(sia) (Обиженные. Беларусь (сия), 2020,directed by Mika Myllyaho, director of the Finnish National Theatre, can be viewed on the theatre’s website from 22 November – 7 December 2021. This play centers around recent turbulent events in Belarus. It depicts the struggle between the democratic opposition in Belarus and the authoritarian regime led by Lukashenko which Kureichik himself witnessed and participated in. The play contrasts the representatives of both old and new powers, generations and genders in a situation where the lives of ordinary citizens are upended by the chaos and violence of this protracted crisis.
The Insulted. The Belarus Worldwide Reading Project has been adapted internationally more than 120 times so far, in a number of different formats including as a reading drama, film, video, radio program, text translation or other publication. This has been performed in 77 different venues and in 25 countries and been translated into 20 languages.
It features performances by Aksa Korttila, Petri Liski, Harri Nousiainen, Jukka-Pekka Palo, Ilja Peltonen, Sari Puumalainen and Paula Siimes with translation from the Russian original by Anni Lappela.
Kureichik, who is one of Belarus’s leading screenwriters and film directors as well as a member of the Belarusian Opposition Coordination Council, is presently based in Finland as an AR-Resident. As part of the Belarusian opposition, he was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
For additional information:
Director of the National Theatre: Mika Myllyaho
Email: [email protected]
Communications Manager Mia Hyvärinen
Email address [email protected]
Phone number 050 540 5062
For inquiries to the author, Andrei Kureichik, contact Artists at Risk (AR) at [email protected]
Andrei Kureichyk is an AR-ICORN Resident at Artists at Risk (AR)-Safe Haven Helsinki. The programme is co-funded by the City of Helsinki Culture and Leisure Division and the Creative Europe programme of European Union, curated by Perpetuum Mobile (PM) as part of Artists at Risk – A European Network of Safe Havens (AR-ENSH). The AR-Network is coordinated by the AR-Secretariat with support from Kone Foundation and curated by Perpetuum Mobile (PM).