Jad, a Palestinian born in America, decides to go to Palestine for the first time in his life. Wanting to know more about his people and identity, he finds out that reality is very different from what he has seen in the news.
Return to Palestine is directed by Micaela Miranda and devised together with an ensemble of graduated students of The Freedom Theatre School. It was created after extensive story-gathering through playback theatre with the communities engaged in The Freedom Theatre’s annual Freedom Ride. The play 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.
Return to Palestine is a versatile play that can be performed on a stage as well as in the street or any other space. When performed in Palestine, the play is followed by an interactive workshop/lecture on theatre (for young audience) or The Freedom Theatre’s work in cultural resistance (for university students and older audiences). Outside of Palestine, the play is accompanied by a workshop, ‘101 Palestine’, in which students gather information from the audience and break them down into myths and facts and share their personal stories, or stories heard during their research, to share more information about life under occupation in Palestine.
Photos: The Freedom Theatre and Ursula Zangger
PRESS AND AUDIENCE REVIEWS
This show changed my mind: the stories that you tell and doing everything in a small space gave me hope that we can liberate Palestine through theatre and art. I will tell all my friends, I will continue to defend our cause, thank you, thank you.” Rima, audience member in Jericho
This work is amazing, very detailed, in it you have all different kind of feelings: the play makes you smile, laugh, cry, think, imagine.” Anas, audience member in Ramallah
I can’t thank you more for what you have done for us. This performance was amazing: it was very emotional but also very important.” Father of Malek (martyr who is featured in the play), Dheisheh refugee camp
The Freedom Theatre is not an alternative to resistance, it is a form resistance.” – Alexandra Lucas Coelho, O Publico, Portuguese national newspaper
Arms, hands, legs become motorbikes, car doors, machine guns, tables, chairs, airplanes, birds and many other objects and beings to tell the story of the hard reality of that particular place but also to talk about universal issues like the search for identity, friendship and loss.” – Ricardo Viel, Blimunda, online magazine for the Saramago Foundation
35 minutes that talk about our whole history, the past and present, and with such great imagination! How did they do that?” – Jamil, Hebron
You give us hope! When we watch our stories being told in such an artistic way, we know our voice can reach far.” – Abu Ashraf, Mufaqara
Thanks for the inspiration, the courage and the wonderful work of The Freedom Theatre! Your words are full of courage, strength, an intelligent humor and human intensity. It was the richest moments in theatre that I was privileged to watch in recent times.” – Daniel Pinto, Portugal
The performance was beautiful, thought provoking and emotionally engaging for all our audience. 140 people were in the audience and for weeks after I had people asking when The Freedom Theatre would return. I can’t recommend hosting The Freedom Theatre enough they are a special group of people resisting injustice in the most powerful way possible.” – Jacob Rusling, International Community School, Amman, Jordan
‘Return to Palestine’ was originally produced in 2016 as part of the project ‘Interactive theatre as a tool for social change’ implemented by The Freedom Theatre in partnership with Ashtar for Theatre Production and Training.
The 2016 performances of ‘Return to Palestine’ were funded by the Swedish Postcode Lottery and by Sida.
The 2017 performances of ‘Return to Palestine’ are funded by Sida and the Palestinian Ministry of Culture through the Palestinian Cultural Fund.