Belarus Free Theatre at the Barbican – a performance review

Commissioned by the academic journal Cultural Geographies in Practice, Sputnik’s artistic director wrote a performance review about Belarus Free Theatre’s Dogs of Europe (2022) at the Barbican.

‘On 12 March 2022, I attended Dogs of Europe, a performance by Belarus Free Theatre (BFT) at London’s Barbican Theatre. Adapted from the novel by Belarusian writer Alhierd Bacharevič, the play imagines a dystopian future in which Russia’s imperial expansion swallows up swathes of eastern Europe to create a ‘Russian Reich’. The timing of the work is uncanny and unsettling – it unintentionally (but astutely) coincided with the horrifying Russian invasion of Ukraine. The novel and stage adaptation depict a Europe that has become a fragmented European League of States with little unifying purpose or moral compass (‘people in Europe no longer read’, as one character announces).’

Photo by Linda Nylind. Pictured – Valery Mazynsky as Old Lampe.


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    Sputnik is a British theatre company dedicated to sourcing, translating and producing new Russian drama for British audiences.

    There are several strands to Sputnik's work including:
    - producing new Russian plays in the UK
    - programming and organising the Russian Theatre Festival in London
    - developing Russian playwriting through commissions and exchanges
    - outreach work bringing drama to disadvantaged young people
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    Russia has a history of theatrical innovation. Russian playwrights have played a significant role in shaping modern European theatre.

    Contemporary playwriting in Russia has been going through an important and innovative period since 1991 with a prolific output by predominantly young dramatists.

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