In this blazing contemporary new work, Belarus Free Theatre combine forces with Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina to share stories of persecuted artists, living under dictatorship, who will not be silenced.

What happens when you are declared an enemy of the state simply for making art? Where do you belong when your government suppresses your basic right to expression? And how do you survive in one of the most brutal prison systems in the world?

This brand new production blends sensuous theatricality and vigorous physicality to shine a light on total suppression of artistic freedoms, drawn from the real-life stories of iconoclastic Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky, incarcerated Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina, who makes her stage debut.

Belarus Free Theatre is one of the leading refugee-led theatre company in the UK and the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds. Burning Doors draws on the company’s own experience of political oppression and continues their campaign to stand up for artistic freedom and human rights across the globe.


A scorching piece of theatre: uncompromising, urgent and angry. –★★★★ Financial Time

A spiky, furious mosaic –★★★★ The Sunday Times

This is bold, striking, searing performance art. Never has your own freedom felt so precious. –★★★★★ The Review Hub

Rips the mind from the complacency of distance and leaves you with the one thing art nowadays so often begrudges – a thought. –★★★★★ CEEL (Central and Eastern European Review)

Inescapable is the unshakeable, life-risking bravery of these artists - not only the ones whose cases are represented here, but the performers, too. –★★★★ The Jewish Chronicle

Powerful. Pounding, relentless intensity. Undoubtedly stimulates discussion way beyond the curtain call – Leicester Mercury

An extraordinary show. Noisy, taboo-busting and brutal to behold. A bracing call to arms by people who can claim to have faced oppression – A Younger Theatre

Provides vital context of the deep courage and belief in freedom of artists. – Guardian

Visceral. A brutally physical production. An analogue for the ritualised humiliation by Russian authorities. – Time Out

A forceful, intense excavation of freedom. A stark reminder of the real human cost of art in places that are not that far away. – What’s on Stage

Full-on, uncompromising theatre: shocking, impressive, emotionally draining. – British Theatre Guide

Created in partnership with ArtReach as part of Journey Festival International 2016; Co-commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne. Developed at Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA). Burning Doors is generously supported by Arts Council England.