2016 – our ten-year anniversary – has been an exceptional year for The Freedom Theatre. More than 10,000 children, youth and adults in Jenin refugee camp and across the occupied West Bank have been involved in our workshops, trainings and performances in theatre, photo, film and creative writing. We have initiated several new programs, toured extensively and graduated our third class of full-time acting students after three years of study in acting, devising and cultural resistance. In a community facing multiple layers of oppression and fragmentation, that is no small feat.
“The Freedom Theatre has given me the opportunity
to learn what I never learned in school and to experience
what I missed in my childhood”
Ahmed Matahen, set designer and theatre technician
This year we presented three new theatre productions, Math Exam, based on accounts by children in Jenin refugee camp, the street theatre play Return to Palestine, and Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani by our final-year acting students. We offered child & youth theatre workshops as well as two summer camps. We opened our own Child Centre for small children and launched a training program in early childhood education for teachers from the whole Jenin area, initiating what we hope will be a revolution within an authoritative educational system. Our photography students made three exhibitions and two issues of our youth magazine Voices were published. We organised a ten-day Freedom Ride with interactive cultural events in some of the most isolated Palestinian communities. We were also honoured to perform for Palestinian refugees in Jordan, deconstructing borders between Palestinians through the arts.
The highlight of the year was the six-day celebration of The Freedom Theatre’s first decade, when friends from Palestine and the world gathered in Jenin refugee camp to look proudly upon the achievements of what our co-founder, the late Juliano Mer Khamis, called the ‘Cultural Intifada’, our joint Palestinian cultural resistance movement. The ten-year anniversary included workshops, performances by some of Palestine’s top artists, cultural activism, networking, discussions, film screenings, guided tours and much more.
When I first started working at the theatre, I didn’t know
what women’s rights were. In the beginning, it was the men
always leading the meetings and workshops, but today the
women are leading just as much if not more than the men.”
Rania Wasfi, program coordinator
In 2017, we want to reach even further. We aim to increase our outreach both in ongoing activities and through performances and cultural events. We will do so by offering painting, storytelling, theatre, games, photography and dabke (Palestinian folkdance) to children and youth in Jenin refugee camp, as well as by initiating theatre workshops in communities around Jenin. We will present several new theatre productions, including a play about women in Palestine, and make interactive theatre performances across the West Bank. We will welcome a new class of Theatre School students. We will launch a cinema club and a discussion forum, inviting community members to meet around issues of importance to them.
To make our goal a reality, we need your support. As a non-profit, The Freedom Theatre depends on individual donations to keep our many activities going.
Donating to The Freedom Theatre means not only giving money, but giving a voice to those who need to be heard. Your contribution will help us foster the next generation of artists, leaders and change-makers in Palestine. Through updates, pictures, video clips and more we will make sure you know just how far your contribution is going. Every recurring donation will be rewarded with an exclusive gift from The Freedom Theatre.
THANK YOU! ♥