Will Attenborough, Stephen Fry and Juliet Stevenson are taking part in a fairytale-inspired campaign called #LoveOverVirus, which forms part of the celebrations for the 15th anniversary of Belarus Free Theatre.
The refugee-led theatre company, co-founded by Natalia Kaliada, Nikolai Khalezin and Vladimir Shcherban, is also opening up its archive to make 24 stage productions free to watch online.
As part of the #LoveOverVirus campaign, members of Belarus Free Theatre’s permanent ensemble will be joined by famous friends of the theatre company to read extracts of their favourite fairytales and short stories every evening at 6pm throughout April and May.
Others taking part in the campaign include David Lan, Samuel West and Andrei Khlyvniuk.
Beginning on April 4 and continuing each weekend for the next three months, 24 productions are being made available to watch on Belarus Free Theatre’s YouTube channel.
These will include its 2005 production of 4.48 Psychosis, King Lear, Time of Women, Well-Being and its 2020 production of Reykjavik ’74.
Kaliada, who is co-artistic director of the company with Khalezin, said: “As the world is united in the greatest fight for survival many of us have ever known, over in Minsk – just a three-hour flight away from London – [president of Belarus] Alexander Lukashenko continues to insist that the coronavirus does not exist, claiming that ‘the world has gone mad’.
“The population of Belarus – 9.5 million people – already living under dictatorship for more than 25 years, now endures the double threat of deadly misinformation handed out by an authoritarian leader.
“Nicolai and I fled Belarus a decade ago and have been political refugees in the UK ever since. We have both been imprisoned for our political work, so know first-hand how important it is to bring dreams, imagination and hope to the fore even in the darkest of times.”
Kaliada added: “Stories allow us to dream, to freely explore the outer reaches of our imaginations. At a time of unprecedented insecurity and fear we wanted to create an online space to celebrate and share these enduring stories together.”