Apr 25, 2015
May 17, 2015

Trash Cuisine

“One of the most powerful Underground companies on the planet”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Devised and performed by Belarus Free Theatre
Directed by Nicolai Khalezin
Written by Nicolai Khalezin & Natalia Kaliada
Concept, stage direction, costumes, lights by Nicolai Khalezin & Natalia Kaliada

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A continued collaboration with The Public Theater in support of Belarus Free Theatre.

Running time: 90 minutes | Performed in English

Trash Cuisine is a play about violence and, in particular, about the ability of society, a group or an individual to take the life of another. The play draws on the works of William Shakespeare, who often referenced capital punishment, and a variety of national cuisines in order to emphasize a local flavor of violence, endurance, life and hope. Live music performed on stage complements a series of stories staged in a variety of ways, bringing them to a common denominator.

All food used during the show will be composted in collaboration with the NYC Compost Project hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

Originally co-produced in London with the Young Vic, supported by LIFT.  Developed and presented at Stadsshouwberg, Amsterdam co-produced by the European Cultural Foundation. Researched with support from Amnesty International.  Supported by: Network for Social Change, The Attenborough Charitable Trust, Kevin Spacey Foundation and Pleasance Theatre Trust.

Trash Cuisine features quotes from the following plays by William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar and Richard III.


– Michael Billington, Guardian


– Michael Coveney, Independent


– Charles Spencer, The Telegraph

Additional contributions by Stephanie Pan, Nastassia Shcherbak, Aleh Sidorchyk, Clive Stafford Smith & Philippe Spall

Ensemble – Victoryia Biran, Kiryl Kanstantsinau, Siarhei Kvachonak, Esther Mugambi, Stephanie Pan, Pavel Radak-Haradnitski, Maryia Sazonava, Philippe Spall & Arkadiy Yushin

Composer and musician – Arkadiy Yushin | Choreographer – Bridget Fiske | Additional music – Stephanie Pan | Lighting Designer – Andrew Crofts | Stage Manager – Svetlana Sugako | Assistant Director – Nadia Brodskaya


Banned from performing in their home country, Belarus Free Theatre serves up food, music, dance and Shakespeare as they share true stories from inmates, executioners, human rights lawyers and families of the executed. This provocative and urgent show pierces the imagination with moments of the darkest humour as it challenges capital punishment in our contemporary world, where 95 countries still carry out the death penalty.

Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 under Europe’s last surviving dictatorship; the company is one of the most outspoken critics of Belarus’s repressive regime. Many company members have served time in prison, lost their jobs, gone into hiding or been exiled. Despite this, the company continues to develop award-winning work with the support of artists around the world.


At the moment Belarus is the only country in Europe, which continues to execute death sentences. And this should stop.

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highly effective…Belarus Free Theatre has emerged as one of the bravest and most inspired underground troupes on the planet…Its presence has provided a necessary and welcomed reminder that theater can indeed be a revolutionary art.”

-Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“theatergoers always on the lookout for something they’ve never seen before are guaranteed to find that here.”

Huffington Post

“The show thrillingly raises important questions about the modern state of capital punishment through a well-choreographed barrage of sights, sounds, and smells… Every member of this eight-person ensemble fearlessly dives into this production, to chilling result…this unique and rigorous political theater is not to be missed.”


“a beautiful exploration of human craving and excess; the desire to indulge our mouths not so different from the urge to whet our aggression.”

-NY Theatre Review

Special Event

Wednesday, April 29th: Post-Show | Opening Night Party

Join us to celebrate the opening of Trash Cuisine in the lobby of the Ellen Stewart Theatre.

Sunday, May 3rd: 4pm | Free Performance – Theatre of the Oppressed NYC

Can’t Get Right 2.0, an original forum play about injustice in the criminal justice system, performed by court-involved young adults from Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Based on the real-life experiences of the ensemble.

May 5th: 10AM | Public Demonstration – Give a Body Back | City Hall

Participants in white body bags occupy public spaces to protest global capital punishment and Belarus’ policy of not returning bodies to their families. The group will meet on the steps of City Hall. After a brief press conference, we will move to Foley Square for the demonstration.

Thursday, May 7th: Post-Show | Panel – Capital Punishment

Panelists: Natalia Kaliada (Belarus Free Theatre), Maddy DeLone (The Innocence Project), Robert Blecker (Law Professor & Death Penalty Advocate) & Viachaslau ‘Slava’ Bortnick (Amnesty International)

Saturday, May 9th: Post-Show | Talkback – The Penal System

Panelists: Ellen Kaplan (Professor & Prison Arts Advocate), Tyrone Werts (End Crime Project & former inmate), Fred Patrick (Vera Institute of Justice), Soffiyah Elijah (Correctional Association of New York), Elissa Gelber (The Center for Court Innovation) & a Representative from CASES

Sunday, May 10th: Post-Show | Performance – Theatre of the Oppressed NYC

Excerpt from Can’t Get Right 2.0, an original forum play about injustice in the criminal justice system, performed by court-involved young adults from Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Based on the real-life experiences of the ensemble.