Dissident Voices

Speakers of Truth to Power

11 Sep

Watch Party In Studio 2 | Online | On Demand | Donations Welcome
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Produced and presented by The Cockpit in collaboration with PEN International

Produced and presented by I-DO LAB


2014. There is war in Donbass. So much of this conflict was happening in the dark, away from the media gaze… Contact Line brought together young adults that live on the different sides of the demarcation line in Eastern Ukraine. They grew up in the same region without borders and shared the same culture.
Since the war broke out, young people have experienced events differently depending on which side they have remained. However, they have similar experiences. Injury, which is the primary interior content of war, is what children and young people face in the war zone. It is difficult to reconcile ideology with the immediate activity of war for those who have experienced it first -hand.
Schoolchildren/witnesses from both sides of frontline speak up about their experiences for the first time. Can people open their hearts when bullets are an immediate danger? Does contact bring reconciliation or deepen wounds? Contact Line performance is not what people are open about, but what they are silent about – the “real” that remains unspeakable.

Contact Line was performed in Ukrainian House, Kyiv in 2020.

PLUS EXCLUSIVE Live watch party and live stream preview of I-DO Lab's upcoming 2022 production, Visit to Minatour, with sections read from the new work plus live Q&A, September 11th at 7:30pm, Studio 2

Book your place for the LIVE WATCH PARTY HERE:

Visit to Minatour will debut in full, online, as part of the Cockpit's Voila! Europe Festival in November 2022. Watch this space for more details!




Past Dissident Voice events are available to watch below, On Demand.


From Blake in 1791 to Bukowski in 1991.

According to the Secretary of the UN, António Guterres, and the worldwide majority of climate scientists, Armageddon is already on its way. In the next three years, global temperature will have risen over the danger line of a 1.5°C increase. A lot of people baffled by mainstream and social media are looking the other way, just hoping someone will fix it. The disaster could be prevented, but climate crisis denial is being sponsored by many, very wealthy sources. Our Government is simply greenwashing. The opposition majority isn’t much better. As a Nobel prize-winning poet (guess who) wrote, LET US NOT TALK FALSELY NOW, THE HOUR IS GETTING LATE

Poetry and Jazz performed by Peter Marinker, co-founder of Dissident Voices and maestro of the Oud, Yaz Fentazi
Originally performed and broadcast in studio 1 on Saturday 29 May 2022.

Watch Here, on Demand: 


NERO'S SECOND BURNING: the diaries of Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen and Etty Hillesum.
Friedrich Reck and Etty Hillesum are voices from the grave. They both perished during the Second World War. At first sight, they couldn't be more different; one is animated by rage, the other by love.
He was a Prussian-born landowner whose hatred of the Nazi regime elevated his prose to heights of prophetic genius. She was "an unknown young woman (who) became one of the most exceptional and truest witnesses of the devastation through which she lived and of the suffering humankind whose fate she chose to join." (Eva Hoffman)
He charts the trajectory of the war through its campaigns, whilst she describes her inner journey from the material world to the spiritual. 

Seventy six years after the Nuremberg Trials, the world is again clamorous with threats of war. Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen's final prophecy was that Germany would not be cleansed of the evil of Nazism until, like Rome, it was burned to the ground. 
As with the shutter of an old-fashioned camera, their writing keeps shifting the angles of our perception. 

Kristin Milward
William Hope

First performed and broadcast Sunday 20 February, 2022

Watch Here, on Demand: 





by Andrei Kureichik

On May 23rd 2021 two young journalists were arrested after a Ryanair plane was forced to land in Minsk.
On 3rd August:Vitaly Shishov, a young exiled Belarusian activist, was found hanged in a wood in Ukraine.
On September 6th Maria Kalesnikava, the woman with the radiant smile, who tore up her passport to prevent herself from being deported, was sentenced to eleven years in jail.  Even then, she smiled.
This is the story of contemporary Belarus; a 21st century European authoritarian state with a fondness for censorship and the brutal suppression of dissent.  

Originally performed and broadcast in studio 1 on Saturday 27 November 2021.

Watch here, On Demand. 






by Andrei Kureichik

English translation by Hon Freedman

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...

First broadcast as a live stream on Saturday 26 March 2021.

Watch here, On Demand. 


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


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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...