Happy New Year from Jenin refugee camp! Here are some updates about what The Freedom Theatre has been up to during the last months and an outlook for the beginning of 2020.
A LOOK BACK AT THE LAST FEW MONTHS...
We are delighted to inform you that our play London - Jeninwon the awards for Best Script and Best Director at the Palestine National Theatre Festival! Congratulations to actors Faisal Abualheja, Alaa Shehada and director Khawla Ibrahim and to everyone who had supported them in their amazing work.
In November, The Freedom Theatre was invited to France to present And Here I Am at the twinning anniversary between Seine-Saint-Denis and the Palestinian cities Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Jenin. The play is based on the life-story and performed by The Freedom Theatre's graduate Ahmed Tobasi, written by Hasan Abdulrazzak, directed by Zoe Lafferty and produced by Developing Artists. The trip revived old and yielded new relationships with artists and organisations in France. We extend our thanks to the French Friends of The Freedom Theatre for having made this trip possible.
Preparations for our new production Metro Gaza have officially started! In collaboration with the play’s director Hervé Loichemol from France, we held auditions for actors from all across historic Palestine. Working with Palestinians from all parts is an important measure of resistance to keep the connection between Palestinians that the occupation and fragmentation of Palestine seeks to sever. And almost as an answer to the impossibility of actors from Gaza to join, the new production is based on the bold idea of an underground train using a tunnel system to connect Gaza with the West Bank.
In December, we were in Tunisia! The Freedom Theatre was proud to represent Palestine at the 34th Neapolis International Festival for Kids Theatre with the puppet playFairuz' Secret. We are happy that North Africa is becoming a recurrent experience for The Freedom Theatre.
The students of The Freedom Theatre School of Performing Arts (previously Professional School of Acting) finished their first year with a self-devised presentation called The Warehouse, built on monologues of international theatre classics from Sophocles to Ibsen. At the same time, another photography course with incredibly talented young women that took place over the past six months came to an end with the most impressive results.
And finally, more than 30 kids are enjoying their holidays at The Freedom Theatre’s annual winter camp with theatre games, acrobatics, drawing, dance, and many more activities which is taking place NOW!
HOSTING PERFORMANCES & COLLABORATIONS
November really was a French month at The Freedom Theatre! It began with a visit by Clowns Sans Frontières who gave a wonderful show on The Freedom Theatre’s stage for kids from Jenin refugee camp. And while The Freedom Theatre’s team were meeting with our friends in Paris, those who had stayed in Jenin were excited to welcome the French Compagnie Acte II for a spectacular performance of The Jungle Book.
Clowns were also a recurrent feature of November. We were happy to strengthen our cooperation with Red Noses Palestine who gave a clowning workshop to the students of our theatre school as well as a week of circus training for the The Freedom Theatre’s Child and Youth programme. It was wonderful to see the boost of confidence in the kids when they presented their newly acquired skills in the circus performance concluding the training!
It was not only clowns who brought a lot of laughter to Jenin that month. With a view to establishing a comedy club at The Freedom Theatre, our very own Faisal Abualheja organised a stand-up comedy show with Ines Abahreh and Jawed Shalaby. After having trained with Faisal and subsequently been on tour through the West Bank, the two (almost local celebrities now) had their audience in the sold-out show at The Freedom Theatre roaring with laughter, with their sharp and witty observations of Jenin society.
In December, our theatre students had the opportunity to expand their experience in experimental playback theatre when being asked to prepare a show in Ramallah for the conclusion of a 'Public Therapy Tour‘, a project by Patricia Echeverria Liras resulting from an artistic residency between Abdul Mohsen Qattan Foundation and Matador Cultural Centre in Madrid.
Other cooperations in the past months included a workshop for children with the dance company Stereo 48 from Nablus and the hosting of a concert of students of Jenin's Watar Conservatory of Music.
Classes of the Theatre School will continue with new students joining as well as several courses in photography and painting for both children and young adults.
In a few weeks, the children of our Child and Youth Programme will present their new kids for kids theatre production City of the Moon.
At the same time, intensive preparations for the new production Gaza Metro will start, to be presented at our annual Festival of Cultural Resistance in April at The Freedom Theatre.
And last but not least, The Freedom Theatre will be busy with preparations for the next Freedom Bus, taking the road from 11 to 20 April 2020! The Freedom Bus will gather artists and activists, Palestinians and internationals, for a creative solidarity ride to key sites of oppression and resistance across the West Bank. If you want to be part of this unique experience, please send an email to email@example.com. Registrations are open until 15 February.
Have a look at our website for more information about the Freedom Bus 2020!