The People Woke Up: The 2020 Revolution in Belarus

September 2022

“There was this moment in 2020. It felt like the whole world was watching us and finally paying attention. It feels like a long time ago.”

The People Woke Up:
The 2020 Revolution in Belarus
Scripted by: Christine Bacon

“There was this moment in 2020. It felt like the whole world was watching us and finally paying attention. It feels like a long time ago.”


Along with the  People’s Consulate of Belarus in Scotland, we produced The People Woke Up, a documentary play telling the stories of people whose lives were changed forever in Belarus in 2020. Following the rigged election where Alexander Lukashenko extended his 27-year presidency still further, hundreds of thousands of Belarusians went out onto the streets to demonstrate and protest. This resulted in the most widespread and violent crackdown in Lukashenko’s reign, with thousands of peaceful protestors arrested, many tortured and killed at the hands of the security forces and many citizens exiled from their country.
This play tells the true stories of some of the people, in their own words, who were caught up in these tumultuous events and the impacts that are still felt today. It is presented as a rehearsed reading by an all Belarusian cast. 
The play premiered in Edinburgh in September 2022. You can read a review here. Email  Chrisitne [email protected] if you would like to host a performance or find out more.

Artistic Director of ice&fire, Christine Bacon, has said: “While the protests across Belarus attracted the attention of the world in August 2020, the cameras have now moved on. However, the people of Belarus continue to resist and risk their lives with the aim of removing the Lukashenko regime so a new nation can be built. With this new script, we invite audiences to listen to stories from the people at the heart of this struggle and ask themselves what they can do in solidarity with the people of Belarus.”

Irina McLean from The People’s Consulate of Belarus in Scotland said: “Sergey Tichanousky – 18 years of imprisonment. Aliaksandr Ivulin – 2 years of imprisonment. Maria Kolesnikova – 11 years of imprisonment. A vlogger. A sports journalist and footballer. A musician. Not criminals but citizens of THEIR country, who want it to be set free of pain, absurd autocracy and dictatorship. It is our pain. Every Belarusian feels it and this amazing opportunity to share it with others should help us to heal. This production will help us to tell our story. The story of our fight.”

Thom Dibdin from AllinEdinburgh Theatre said: “Despite the stories of brutality and abuses, the four accounts have a warmth about them, a love for a modest, landlocked country without significant peaks or lakes. An agrarian economy content to be be left alone. A people who are not looking for bloodshed – which, as one account wryly comments, might be why they lost the revolution. It adds up to a compelling piece of political theatre. The stories of four people who didn’t start out as being particularly political, but who got caught up in the injustices of the system around them and who were criminalised for standing up for the truth.”


The development of this project was supported by Creative Scotland.
Photo credit: @olegzaicev
●      Hanna Komar 

●      Mitya Savelau 

●      Victoria Milham 

●      Nastasya Korablina
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