The Freedom Theatre Premier Our Sign is the Stone: The Story of Nabi Saleh

The freedom theatre 

PREMIERE PERFORMANCE: 4TH MAY 3:30PM, NABI SALEH

Our Sign is the Stone is a production based on testimonies gathered from the village of Nabi Saleh. The play traces the political development of a young boy as his community organizes an extraordinary campaign against the Israeli Occupation.

The play attests to the struggles, sacrifices and steadfastness of Palestinian communities engaged in civil resistance against practices of land confiscation, ethnic segregation and racial discrimination.

Each performance will be followed by a Playback Theatre event, in which audience members will share their own stories of struggle against Israeli human rights violations.

PERFORMANCES
Wednesday 1st May 4pm: Jenin Refugee Camp, The Freedom Theatre (Preview performance)

Saturday 4th May 3:30pm: Nabi Saleh, Community Hall (Premiere performance)

Sunday 5th May 4pm: Al Walajah, School Hall

Monday 6th May 4pm: Arabeh (Old City), Palace

Tuesday 7th May 10:30am (Women-only performance): Faquaa, Community Hall

Tuesday 7th May 7pm: Faquaa, Community Hall

Wednesday 8th May 4pm: Qusra, Community Hall

DEDICATION
The Freedom Theatre dedicates this play to Mustafa Tamimi and Rushdi Tamimi.

CONTACT
For more information, please contact
Alia Alrosan: E: alia@thefreedomtheatre.org, T: 0599304523
Ben Rivers: E: ben@thefreedomtheatre.org, T: 0592902256

FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/events/125810880944873/

THE FREEDOM BUS
Our Sign is the Stone is a production of The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus initiative. The Freedom Bus uses interactive theatre and cultural activism to bear witness, raise awareness and build alliances throughout historic Palestine and beyond. Endorsers of the Freedom Bus include Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, John Berger, Judith Butler, Maya Angelou, Mairead Maguire, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Noam Chomsky, Omar Barghouti, Remi Kanazi and Peter Brook. A range of other Palestinian and International artists, activists, academics and organizations have endorsed the Freedom Bus.

Email: freedombus@thefreedomtheatre.org
Web: www.freedombus.ps
Blog: freedombuspalestine.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefreedombus
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/FreedomBusPal

AlJazeera: Palestinians celebrate festival of dance

Away from the factional politics and the tensions, residents of the West Bank have been celebrating on the streets.

The second international dance festival in Ramallah has provided Palestinians with a rare chance to dance their woes away.

Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh reports.

More from: Aljazeera English

Palestinians perform Carmen with Swiss choir

Monday, 15 April 2013

Reuters – published on AlArabiya

Palestinian musicians from the West Bank collaborated with a Swiss choir to perform George Bizet’s renowned opera, Carmen.

The concert took place in Bethlehem’s Convention Palace.

Playing alongside musicians from the The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) Orchestra were members of the Palestinian Youth Orchestra, made up of Palestinian students aged between the ages of 12 and 19 who live in the West Bank.

The young musicians are taught by Palestinian, European and American musicians.

Director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Jalil Elias, said the event showed just how talented the young musicians are.

“This is a very unique event for the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music because it needs very qualified people to work on it, particularly as it is the opera of Carmen. Our students and teachers worked with this organization to ensure the success of this event which is the first of its kind to happen in Palestine. With this high performance we have proved that Palestinians are highly qualified and are able to do such an event in our country,” said Elias.

Set in the Spanish city of Seville in the 19th century, the opera tells the tale of a passionate love story between Carmen, the fiery Spanish gypsy girl who seduces Don José, a naïve soldier who goes mad with love with tragic consequences for them both.

The young musicians taking part in the show said they were delighted to be a part of such a performance.

“This is a professional orchestra and today we will play with opera singers from Switzerland, who are famous and who sing opera in a unique way. As Palestinians playing with these people it makes us very happy and has touched and changed us,” said Lamar Jaleel, who plays the violin.

The St. Michel Choir is made up of singers between the ages of 16 and 25 years from Fribourg, the capital city of the Sarine district.

Friboug is a medieval town that sits on the cultural border between the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland.

Colombian pianist and conductor Juan David Molano has been the ESNCM’s Principal Conductor since his appointment in 2011.

“I can relate that perfectly with the situation in Palestine. They are just [too] oppressed to flourish their cultural capacities and I think this is the occasion for them to look outside this oppression and this gives them more strength in character and they are really having the benefit of all this,” said Molano, who conducted the orchestra.

The ESNCM works in partnership with the Fondation les Instruments de la Paix (Switzerland) and the Geneva Conservatoire, where Molano is also a professor of piano.

Local residents filled the auditorium seats and concert-goers expressed their joy at witnessing the progress of their young Palestinian musicians.

“The performance is really amazing and the participation of Palestinian youths with an international opera from a country like Switzerland prove that the Palestinian youths are excelling in their musical abilities and are representing Palestine to the world. Being able to play with this opera means that they have reached a very good level,” said one concert attendee, Maha Jabeer, from Bethlehem.

The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music was set up in 1993 after five Palestinian musicians and music teachers carried out a study on the status of music in Palestine in 1990 and found a huge lack of musical education in Palestinian society.

This article appeared on  AlArabiya

The Economist: A theatre of protest “The Island” opened to packed audiences in Palestine’s Jenin refugee camp

ADAPTED from South Africa’s Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was jailed under apartheid, to an Israeli prison cell, Athol Fugard’s play “The Island” has opened to packed audiences in the Jenin refugee camp on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Confined to a concrete floor set in a sea of sand, two cellmates keep up their morale by rehearsing a production of Sophocles’s Antigone, in which a woman chooses to die rather than obey the king’s decree not to bury her brother, a political dissident. “You won’t sleep peacefully,” Antigone tells the king when he condemns her to death.

Despite its transposed setting, the play retains its poignancy. Almost every Palestinian on the West Bank has a brother, father or husband whom the Israeli authorities have, at one time or another, locked away. At present, 4,500 are behind bars. Jenin may have the highest rate of any town. Imprisonment has become a male rite of passage, as well as a place of higher education: many opt for distance learning at Israeli universities.

Ahmad Rokh, one of the actors in “The Island”, who has served four prison terms, was first put inside at the age of 14. The refugee camp in Jenin was a prime source of suicide-bombers during the second intifada (uprising) that lasted from 2000 to around 2005. Nearly a decade on, it has recovered a sense of humour. The audience laughs at the prisoners dressed in drag.

The theatre has had to overcome a troubled phase. Two years ago its founder, Juliano Khemis, a half-Palestinian, half-Jewish actor, was killed in circumstances that neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian authorities have explained. The Freedom Theatre has reopened its drama school after a hiatus of more than a year.

Though the number of Palestinian political prisoners has halved since the height of the second (and most recent) intifada, it is still twice as high as it was a dozen years ago. Those behind bars include hundreds of stone-throwers, 15 members of the Palestinian parliament and 170 people held without trial under “administrative detention”. The Palestinian Authority also runs its own prisons, where scores of leading members of Hamas, the Islamist group that rejects Israel’s existence, have been locked up.

When an Israeli production of the same play was performed at the Hasimta Theatre in Jaffa three years ago, the director, Alon Tiran, observed members of the audience leaving “in a different mindset from when they arrived”. He could not ask for more than that, he said. In Jenin, reactions have been more pronounced. “We are all Antigone,” says Ahmad Jbarah, better known by his nom-de-guerre, Abu Sukar, who attended the play’s opening. “The more the oppressor condemns us as criminals, the more heroic we are,” he says. Mr Sukar was in prison for 27 years for his part in a bombing in Jerusalem in 1975 that caused 15 civilian deaths.

This article appeared here

Art As Resistance: Centre for Palestine Studies to host representatives from Jenin Freedom Theatre at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute April 14

Centre for Palestine Studies

Please join us for a panel discussion with videos and presentations by representatives from the Jenin Freedom Theatre in Palestine. The panelists will discuss the following:

  • What is it like to make theater in Occupied Palestine and why is this work important?
  • What is the relationship between theatre and politics in Palestine as practiced at The Freedom Theatre?
  • How does the theatre continue its work under severe repression, murder and arrests?
  • What are the similarities/differences in acting education between the U.S. and Palestine?

Panelists

Faisal Abu Alheja is 23-yr-old Palestinian actor trained at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin. He has performed in Animal Farm, Fragments of Palestine, Men in the Sun, Sho Kaman and is currently in rehearsal for The Island. Faisal was a member of the Playback Theatre troupe in 2012 and has toured in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Ahmad Al-Rokh is a 24-yr-old Palestinian actor trained at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin. He has performed in Animal Farm, Men in the Sun, Journey, Sho Kaman and is also currently in rehearsal for The Island. Ahmad was a member of the Playback Theatre troupe in 2012 and has toured in Luxembourg, France, and Belgium.

Gary English is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Professor of Theatre, of the University of Connecticut. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, as well as the current Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin.

This event is co-presented by the Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre (www.thefreedomtheatre.org) and the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University and co-sponsored by the Network of Arab American Professionals – NY (NAAP-NY), ArteEast, and Alwan for the Arts.

This event is free and open to the public and on a first-come, first-seated basis. RSVP recommended to palestine@columbia.edu.

APRIL 14, 2013, 5PM
Room 501 Schermerhorn
Columbia University
Enter Gates on 116th Street & Amsterdam or Broadway
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/441878539223779/

For more information go to the Centre for Palestine Studies

Palestinian Singer Oday Khatib Awaits Israeli Military Trial

This article appeared April 4 on the World Music Network

Palestinian Singer Oday Khatib Awaits Israeli Military Trial

Oday Khatib, the young Palestinian singer of Arabic classical music and protégé of Riverboat Records artist Ramzi Aburedwan, has been charged with stone-throwing, facing up to ten years in prison if he is convicted. Testimonials from around the world have been written in protest at the charge, from teachers and associates who know him, with many expressing a profound skepticism at the credibility of the charge.

Oday’s father, Jihad Khatib, claims that his son was arrested while waiting for a friend he was meeting for dinner, a victim of the indiscriminate nature of occupying forces in the West Bank. Talking to Musa Abuhashhash, a field worker for the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, Jihad noted that nearby some youths were throwing stones, ‘and when the soldiers chased the kids, it did not come to his mind that the soldiers would go for him. Otherwise he would have run away.’

Born and raised in the Al Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron, Oday had never been arrested before and had always been known for his singular dedication to music, gaining a reputation for his interpretations of Palestinian protest songs from an early age. ‘Oday is not interested in throwing stones or getting involved in this. Since he was nine years old he was interested only in music’, his father said.

As a teenager Oday became celebrated as the star singer of Aburedwan’s Ramallah-based Association Al Kamandjâti, an orchestra set up to provide access to music for Palestinian children under occupation in the West Bank. He has since toured internationally with a number of ensembles, including Al Kamandjâti, as well as participating in music education and outreach projects in Europe.

OdayKhatib

Julia Katarina, the British Mezzo-Soprano who put her opera career on hold to teach voice lessons at Al Kamandjâti for three years, was among many musicians from around to voice her support for Oday: ‘He is very generous with his art, and just loves singing beyond all else! He is a true singer, and I imagine the only way he is surviving prison is by singing. I hope he sings in the military court,’ Julia writes, because if Oday’s accusers can find ‘an ounce of humanity in their hearts, they will release him.’

Such a prospect appears unlikely, however; according to the author and blogger Sandy Tolan, in 2010 the conviction rate in military trials for such alleged offenses was about 399 out of 400, a figure accompanied by a growing clamour among settler communities in the West Bank to have stone-throwing treated as akin to live fire by the IDF.

Support Association Al Kamandjâti: http://www.alkamandjati.com/en/home/

Follow Sandy Tolan’s blog: http://ramallahcafe.com/

This article appeared on  World Music Network

AlMonitor: Palestinian Children’s Museum Goes Green

By: Dalia Hatuqa for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse. Posted on April 3

In a land where space is limited, and public parks and gardens are few and far between, a Bethlehem-based mother of two is working on opening a museum for children — who comprise more than 40% of the Palestinian population — with a special focus on green living and sustainability.

Drawing inspiration from visits to children’s museums across the globe, Layla Kaiksow has a one-of-a-kind museum in mind for Palestinian children — one that can help them not only learn about sustainability and conservation, but also get them immersed in their culture away from the confines of theclassroom.

“In Palestine, people are conscious of the environment in many ways, but in a lot of other ways they are not,” Kaiksow said. “Traditionally, Palestinians have not been a wasteful people, but as things ‘developed,’ trash became rampant and conservation isn’t exercised as it once was. We need to plant green ideas in children’s heads from the outset.”

Plans for the new museum — expected to open in the summer of 2014 — are still at an early stage. The museum, which targets children between the ages of one to 12, as well as their families and educators, is slated to not only be environmentally friendly, but also culturally rooted.

The exhibits will be designed to teach children about local culture and traditions, shedding light on the environment and sustainability, and garnering more interest for math and sciences away from the traditional methods being used in schools.

A water exhibit is also in the making so children can learn about why this precious resource is particularly coveted in the region, along with instructions on how to use it sparingly. “We are not shying away from politics in the museum,” Kaiksow said. “But it’s also not our focus, so we may teach the kids some political facts on a basic level.”

The museum is being created using the “only local” toolkit outlined by the Madison Children’s Museum, known for its commitment to sustainability and community collaboration. This means that during its foundation, local architects, curators and exhibition designers will be hired, and local and recyclable materials will be used whenever possible.

For the math and science exhibitions, the museum is teaming up with Al-Nayzak, a local organization that focuses on encouraging scientific innovation among young Palestinians. Shams/Ard, Palestine’s first green design firm, will be building the museum’s furniture (and some of the exhibitions) out of discarded, recycled or locally produced materials. “The aim of this museum is to teach children through play about green concepts and sustainability, among other things,” said Danna Masad, one of the Shams/Ard architects.

As part of the museum’s vision to promote the use of sustainable energy and support the prevalence of green ideas in the Palestinian territories, unconventional methods will be used during the renovation and building phase. This includes setting up a geothermal heating and cooling system in the building, as well as installing a solar energy and grey wastewater treatment system. There are plans to also operate a mobile museum in the form of a bus running on bio-diesel in the months following the museum’s opening.

The exhibits will be designed with Palestinian culture in mind, using objects made in cities like Hebron, known for its glass and traditional ceramics, and Bethlehem, where hand-stitched embroidery is made. With that in mind, one of the workshops envisioned will include a station where kids can make their own embroidery using felt and glue. Another is an arithmetic exhibit where children can learn about the traditional process of making ceramics, and stack plates as they solve math problems.

An old historic villa that’s just a few streets away from Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity was chosen to house the museum. An architecture firm that restores historic buildings throughout Bethlehem will renovate the house. The structure itself was chosen for its proximity to the city’s religious sites and its vaulted ceilings, large windows, arched doors and spacious backyard where an old pine tree provides shade over what is to become a large play area.

While the renovation of the building is being funded by the Russian government, the museum itself has so far only received funds from individual donors. A Kickstarter campaign is in the works for the summer and the long-term goal is to form an endowment for the museum. In the meantime, the museum is aiming for individual donations and grant monies.

Kaiksow is hoping that the museum will attract Palestinian children from all over the territories and from inside Israel. She envisions that, with the right exhibitions, the museum will be a destination for educators interested in teaching children through interaction and creativity.

This article appeared at AlMonitor

Dalia Hatuqa is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor‘s Palestine Pulse. A print and broadcast journalist specializing in the Middle East, she is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah and writes for several publications about politics, the economy, culture, art and design. On Twitter: @DaliaHatuqa.