Being Harold Pinter by lindayy

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AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
SYDNEY EXCLUSIVE

Sydney Festival and Company B in association with Q Theatre Company present

Being Harold Pinter
Belarus Free Theatre, Belarus

Belvoir St Theatre, January 6–11 & 28–31
Q Theatre Penrith, January 14–17

“A rare opportunity to see political art truly in action.” The Times

“An extraordinary event that not only illustrates Pinter's career-long denunciation of political terror, but
proves that poor theatre can often deliver the richest dramatic experience.” The Guardian

“Small wonder Mick Jagger, Tom Stoppard and Vaclav Havel are fans; this is world-class theatre, built on
the guts of raw experience.” The Telegraph, UK


Being Harold Pinter is wild, anarchic theatre at its purest. Splicing transcripts from Belarusian political
prisoners with scenes from Pinter’s plays and extracts from his Nobel Prize speech, Being Harold Pinter
is both funny and menacing, a powerful instance of life imitating art.

For Sydney Festival, Belarus Free Theatre make their premiere visit to Australia; bringing their urgent
and very vital theatre-making to a sparse Belvoir St Theatre stage. Everything about the production has
been stripped back to the simplest and most crucial means of expression.

Established in 2005, Belarus Free Theatre is an underground theatre project set up specifically to
produce uncensored work in response Europe’s last dictatorship. Since 1994, the authoritarian rule of
President Alexander Lukashenko has suppressed both freedom of expression and political opposition.

Since its inception, the company has performed in Belarus, often in apartments and unadvertised
venues, as well as throughout Europe. In its relatively short history, the company has attracted the
attention, and fierce support as patrons, of Czech President (and playwright) Václav Havel, playwrights
Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter and Arthur Kopit, and rock and roller Mick Jagger. These names not only
bring a certain glamour to the company, but more importantly for this particular company, they ensure a
protection against the repressive actions of the Belarusian government.

In Belarus, all theatres are state-owned, with all directors and artisitc directors appointed by the Ministry
of Culture. Theatre performances are censored, with no new work being produced. In August 2007, a
performance by Belarus Free Theatre was stormed by state police and 50 people were arrested. The
company asserts that they will disband only when Belarus moves from a dictatorship to a democracy.

Belarus Free Theatre started in 2005 with a production of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, a play that
deals with depression and suicide – two themes that are taboo in art in Belarus. The company was


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founded by playwright Nikolai Khalezin and his wife, human rights activist Natalya Kolyada, initially as a
playwriting competition drama competition for Belarusian writers. The project’s main organisational
resource is the communal initiative, Free Theatre, and the public association, The Belarusian Dramatists
and Scenarists Guild, formed in 2004.

Being Harold Pinter premiered in 2007 at a UK conference, Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing
Pinter, with Pinter himself joining the post-performance forum. Subsequently, the company was invited to
join the European Theatre Convention. The company seeks to perform contemporary works by both
prohibited Belarusian playwrights, as well as the best playwrights from around the world.

Being Harold Pinter is performed in Russian with English surtitles.
Please note that Being Harold Pinter contains nudity and simulated violence.

 Where         Belvoir St Theatre 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
 When          January 6–10, 28-31 at 8pm. January 11 & February 1 at 5pm. January 10 & 31 at 2pm
 Price         Adults $56
               Seniors/Groups (10+) $46
               Concession/Preview $34
               Booking fees may apply
 Bookings      Company B on 02 9699 3444
               Online www.sydneyfestival.org.au
 Where         Q Theatre Penrith The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, 597 High Street, Penrith
 When          January 14–17 at 8pm. January 17 at 2pm
 Price         $42 / $37
 Bookings      Q Theatre Penrith 02 4723 7600
               Online www.sydneyfestival.org.au
 Duration      1hr 15mins, no interval
 Information   www.sydneyfestival.org.au

MEDIA ENQUIRIES
Sarah Wilson, Publicity Manager (02) 8248 6523 / 0405 364 643 sarah.wilson@sydneyfestival.org.au
Helene Fox, Senior Publicist (02) 8248 6532 / 0412 085 032 helene.fox@sydneyfestival.org.au
Charlotte Greig, Publicist (02) 8248 6524 / 0404 111 919 charlotte.greig@sydneyfestival.org.au




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