Palestine, represented by The Freedom Theatre, participated in the Kuwait Youth Theatre Festival, held on October 15 in Kuwait City. Return to Palestine, a play based on extensive story-gathering through playback theatre with communities across the West Bank, includes stories from Jenin refugee camp and city, Fasayel, Dheisheh refugee camp, Mufaqara and Gaza. In a sarcastic, comic and tragic style, the actors create the physical and emotional space they live in with their bodies on a very small stage – as small as Palestine.
Our team were competing against 12 other countries from the Middle East and Gulf region, vying for the first price for Best Theatrical Show. “This was truly a momentous occasion for The Freedom Theatre” says Mohammed Moawia, head of multimedia at the theatre. “Our first time competing against our Arab neighbours was both exciting and intimidating, however, the team performed brilliantly against stiff competition. The response from the audience was incredible and we felt proud to bring new theatre techniques to the international theatre community”. Having lost out on the top prize, to Kuwait no less, Samer Abu Hantash, live musician in the play, won the award for Best Music and Effect.
Throughout the 14-day event, our team participated in workshops with other theatre artists as well as in seminars and took part in a press conference to discuss the youth theatre industry in Palestine. Our team spoke about new theatre techniques and styles being used at The Freedom Theatre as well as the use of physical drama to produce plays focusing on the voices and political perspectives of the Palestinian people.
We are deeply honoured to have been invited and we hope to take part again next year. Resulting from the festival, we have been invited to perform Return to Palestine in other countries in the Middle East and we are currently exploring international opportunities for 2018. More details to follow soon!
Cast: Samah Mahmoud, Ahmed Tobasi, Ihab Talahmeh, Raneen Odeh, Adnan Bubli and Nour Dula. Directed by Micaela Miranda. Live music by Samer Abu Hantash.