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We'll meet again

Pavel Latushka: Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Ambassador

"This will be our performance, where we will play the main role and act as directors ourselves."

On International Theater Day, I want to remind you of the deep roots theater has in the history of Belarus. Folk theaters, including the famous Batleyka, and aristocratic theaters like the 18th-century Niasvizh Radziwil Theater and Ruzhany Sapieha Theater, have greatly influenced Belarusian culture. Ihnat Bujnicki is an exceptional figure in Belarusian theatrical art. Over a hundred years ago, he established the first Belarusian theater troupe in the early 20th century on the Palivachy farm in Hlubokaje region.

The Belarusian theater has not only served as a center of national culture and language but has also played a role in the formation of statehood. In 1917, the First All-Belarusian Congress took place in the building of the city theater in Minsk, which is now known as the Yanka Kupala Theater. It was during this congress that the right of the Belarusian people to self-determination was proclaimed.

During my tenure as the Minister of Culture of Belarus, we successfully implemented a program for the restoration, reconstruction, and repair of 27 state theaters across the country. Notably, the National Theater named after Yanka Kupala, the country's first drama theater with a hundred-year history, and the regional puppet theater in Hrodna, which dates back to the 18th century, hold a special place in my memory. We also initiated the rebuilding of the drama theater in Slonim, founded by Michail Oginski in the 18th century. Furthermore, I recall initiating the festival "Evenings of the National Opera and Ballet Theater in the Radziwil Castle" in Niasvizh and the festival of drama theaters of Belarus called "Urshula Radziwil Theatre," also held at the Niasvizh Palace.

In 2020, in the capital alone, representatives from 12 theater groups demonstrated what freedom means to them and showed support for peaceful protests. They illustrated that theatrical art cannot be shackled. The renowned Yanka Kupala Theater led the way in this regard.

On this International Theater Day, I would like to congratulate all actors and theater employees, both those currently abroad and those remaining in Belarus. I firmly believe that we will reunite at the Yanka Kupala Theater, and even the available seats will not suffice. We will fill the park, the square in front of the theater, and the adjacent streets and alleys. To achieve this, it is crucial for us to take center stage and become the directors ourselves. Happy International Theater Day!

Former Minister of Culture of Belarus, Permanent Representative of Belarus to UNESCO, and Director-General of the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater



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