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Look back to international adventures with Return to Palestine

Look back to international adventures with Return to Palestine

Last month, we updated you on the international tour of Return to Palestine. After some exciting weeks, we would like to look back on the adventures of our team in Turkey and Jordan.

From Portugal to Turkey
The international trip was supposed to kick off at the Devir Capa Festival in Portugal. In April, we updated you on why the team unfortunately couldn’t perform there (read the whole article here). Despite the initial disappointment about Portugal, at the end of, our team headed to Turkey to perform in Konya. In Turkey, they performed at the Konya Theatre Festival and despite the language barrier, the response to the play was extremely positive and we hope to take part again next year!

Great success in Jordan
Within the same week, at the start of May, our team traveled from Konya to Amman, Jordan. Here, they performed Return to Palestine twice at the International Festival of Liberal Theatre, and the reception of the play was overwhelming. Talks with the audience after the shows made clear there is a lot of recognition in the story, especially from Palestinians living in Jordan. The festival also enabled us to build on our international network, with theatre people from Switzerland, Germany, Canada and Russia who all showed great interest in the play, opening up new international opportunities for The Freedom Theatre.

To top it off, the last night of the festival was award night. Again, our team received a lot of praise for their performance, and this was confirmed by the award for best acting performance, won by Alaa Shehada. Below, a brief interview with Alaa about this great accomplishment, together with some pictures of the night.

Interview with Alaa Shehada
Alaa, you won an award for your acting performance in Return to Palestine, at the International Festival of Liberal Theatre in Amman, Jordan. Congratulations!

Is this the first time you won an award at a theatre festival?
“Pretty much, yes. As The Freedom Theatre, we don’t go to a lot of festivals, although we do travel internationally with some of our productions. The most important for us is to share our story with the world. Our main focus is not in the field of festivals or to win awards, but since we got invited to the festival in Jordan, this was a good opportunity to share our story.”

The most important for us is to share our story with the world.

What does it mean to you, to win an award like that?
“First of all, we won the award, because it’s a collective work, a team work. The theatre production Return to Palestine is very physical. This means there has to be a good communication between the actors. In order for the action to happen, the connection between those who are playing the action and those who are not is important. So this is a collective work. 

And I think the award means a lot to us, as The Freedom Theatre, because it means that we are doing a good job and that there is appreciation for our work, not just in Palestine but also abroad. That means that we are on the right path, and this gives us energy to continue with our work. I think we are doing good as a theatre and as an artistic organisation.”

And I think the award means a lot to us, as The Freedom Theatre, because it means that we are doing a good job and that there is appreciation for our work, also abroad.

Can you tell us something about your next plans, maybe with The Freedom Theatre also?
“Yes, let’s not call it plans, let’s call it ideas. I want to do activities that are related to the comedy work I did in the UK (Showtime from the Frontline) and in Holland (A Room with a View). I want to be in Palestine this summer and create these kinds of comedy shows and work here, in Jenin city and all over the West Bank. It will be in the comedy field, for example physical comedy, stand-up comedy and the work I do with Red Noses International in hospitals. Maybe some stand-up comedy during Ramadan, after people have had their breakfast, and they have full bellies, they can come to relax their bellies by laughter.”

Thanks to Sami F. Alzoubi for the photography.

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