The Scottish Friends of the Freedom Theatre is an informal group – a leaderless but deeply engaged band of actors, poets, screenwriters, playwrights, directors, producers, visual artists, academics, solidarity activists and other aware, awake human beings, who share a commitment to see The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, occupied Palestine, continue to flourish, bloom and touch the lives and hearts of the children, parents and young people of Jenin, of Palestine, and across our world in the positive, creative, courageous manner it has been doing since its inception.
Paradoxically, we owe our existence to the Israeli army and the Palestinian Authority.
The relentless harassment, intimidation tactics, torture and bullying of these twin adversaries of human dignity and creativity, awakened us to our responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder, heart in heart, with our sisters and brothers, our fathers and mothers, uncles, aunts, friends and colleagues in The Freedom Theatre, in Jenin and throughout Palestine.
Our aims are identical to those of The Friends of The Freedom Theatre in New York City – but we are not as organised!
However, this does not mean we are inactive. We have held a music evening in Glasgow to raise money for The Freedom Theatre, and also placed a half page advertisement in an issue of The LIST – the Glasgow/Edinburgh events guide – calling for Zakaria Zubeidi to be freed when he was imprisoned.
Many of our group have visited The Freedom Theatre, and experienced the warm welcome and loving reception there, freely and generously offered by the staff, students and local friends of the theatre despite the ever present threat of violence against the Freedom Theatre premises and its people.
Liz Lochhead – the National Poet of Scotland and a renowned playwright – was part of a delegation of Scottish artists whose visit was on the very morning that the Israeli army abducted Nabil Al-Raee – Artistic Director of the Freedom Theatre in 2012.
William Letford, another Scottish poet, visited the theatre the morning that Zakaria Zubeidi was arrested and taken away by the Palestinian Authority in May, 2012, to languish in prison under very harsh treatment and without charge.
Tam Dean Burn – a fine actor and a committed solidarity activist, worked with the late Juliano Mer Khamis in a British stage production some time ago.