Dissident Voices


Produced and presented by The Cockpit in collaboration with PEN International
With Peter Marinker and Kristin Milward


A monthly program of readings giving voice to dissident writers, past and present.

In collaboration with PEN International. 

Coming Soon:

A Second Nero's Burning of Rome

Hosted in person in Studio 1, and live online.   


Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen and Etty Hillesum were two extraordinary diarists writing during the war.  One was a Prussian nobleman with all the attitudes of his class, whose hatred and contempt for the Nazis elevated his prose to heights of prophecy as well as genius.

Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish woman, whose family had lived in Holland for hundreds of years.  She was of her time: emancipated, educated, urbane, with a bohemian lifestyle and a circle of interesting friends.  She moves from that world to a life of the spirit, driven by a profound belief in God and the sanctity of life.  She chooses not to hide, but to embrace her fate, first at a notorious transit camp in Holland, later at Auschwitz.

Reck was driven by hate; Etty by love.


Previous Broadcasts:


English translation by JOHN FREEDMAN

First broadcast as a live stream on Saturday 26 March 2021 at 7pm

August 2020.  The streets of Minsk are teeming with protesters, as news gets out that the presidential elections have been rigged.

Thugs have been flown in from all over the ex Soviet Union, they're given free rein to do what they like to the protesters - terrorise, beat them to death, threaten gang rape.

A manicurist and a football hooligan meet in a prison van.
The President screams, "If you don't want Lugashenko, you'll get Putin!"
The woman standing against him asks of us all, "What are you willing to do for love?".

Andrei Kureichik wrote this play on the hoof, as events spread like wildfire in Belarus last summer.  It's a damning indictment of a repressive regime, where rigged elections are a commonplace and violence is currency.  The police lob grenades at the protesters, but they just keep on protesting...


Oldster (Lugashenko):  Peter Marinker
Youth (Lugashenko's teenage son, Kostya):  Tom Cawte
Novice (Svetlana Tikhonovskaya):  Polly Misch
Cheerful (Lena): Saffron Coomber
Avian (Roma):  Dikran Tulaine
Corpse (Nikita):  Sam Mac
Mentor (a teacher):  Kristin Milward
Directors: Kristin Milward and Oliver Senton


Please donate if you can. Your money goes to fund work - interesting, energetic, passionate theatre and music, which The Cockpit continues collaborating on - not just pay the standing charges on the phone bill. 50% of donations from this series will help promote literature and protect writers at risk through the work of PEN International too. Thank you!


PEN International

PEN International was founded in 1921. PEN was one of the world’s first international non-governmental organisations acknowledged by the United Nations and among the first international bodies advocating for human rights, particularly freedom of expression. From one founding Centre in London, PEN’s network of more than 140 Centres is now rooted in over 100 countries.

This year, PEN marks 100 years of delivering its mission. From its founding by writer and peace activist Catherine Dawson Scott in the wake of war through to the present day, PEN's goal remains the same: to foster tolerance and dialogue across cultures, languages and political affiliations, within and between nations. PEN is a voice for writers silenced in their own countries.

PEN is a worldwide voluntary movement and international charity that connects writers, human rights defenders, and community groups. For the past century, PEN International has successfully worked to celebrate literature, defend freedom of expression, protect writers at risk, support writers in exile, repeal attacks on women writers, and promote equal rights for language communities.

If you would like to learn more about PEN’s work, please do visit their website here. You can support writers globally by donating here too. Thank you for making a difference!

·         Day of the Imprisoned Writer: Every year on 15 November, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN International calls for urgent international action to protect writers and journalists across the globe, who increasingly find themselves targeted for their peaceful free expression work. https://pen-international.org/protecting-writers-at-risk/day-of-the-impr...

·         Creative Witnesses brings together musicians and creative artists in support of writers who have been imprisoned, harassed, or put at risk because of their commitment to freedom of expression. https://pen-international.org/creative-witnesses-take-action-for-writers...
·         The PEN Award for Freedom of Expression is given in recognitions of writers’ significant contribution to freedom of expression around the world and as a distinction to writers and journalists committed to free speech despite the danger to their own lives. In 2021, The PEN Award for Freedom of Expression was awarded to award winning Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. the https://pen-international.org/news/tsitsi-dangarembga-wins-the-pen-award...