Overview of Ashtar Theatre activities during 2014

Drama Training Program
An ongoing program whereby school students study acting for three years. In Partnership with UNICEF the program in 2014 reached 120 students aged 14 to 18 covering Gaza, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Ramallah.

Two productions were presented during the first quarter of the year; the second year students from Ramallah performed "Alice… Where have you been?" directed by Emile Saba and Rana Burqan; the 3rd year students in Gaza presented for their graduation production "Sons of Hercules" directed by Ali Abu Yasseen, while all first year students in the different locations presented Theatre-Sports competitions.

“48 Minutes for Palestine”
International tour in Norway and UK
Seven performances were presented in Norway under the auspices of the Municipality of Trondheim and in cooperation with Sør-Trøndelag County Authority and The Cultural School Rucksack in the county. The play was highly appreciated by the high school students the tour was arranged and the general public. In the UK, the play was presented for a large audience of students and teachers from Rose Bruford College in London.

“This Flesh Is Mine”
A co-production with Border Crossings-UK
Continuing our tradition in making joint productions with international theatre companies, ASHTAR was invited by Border Crossings to re-tell the Iliad from the Trojan’s point of view. Supported by the Anna Lindh Foundation and in partnership with the British Council, “This Flesh Is Mine” is a new play written by Brian Woolland and directed by Michael Walling featuring three actors from Palestine and three from UK. “This Flesh Is Mine” was performed in English twice in Ramallah and 8 times in London.

KARAMA Human Rights Film Festival
1st edition in Palestine
With the financial support of the UNDP, Movies that Matter, and A. M. Qattan Foundation, “Karama Human Rights Film Festival” in its first edition in Palestine lasted for six days between the 14th and the 19th of January 2014. The festival took place in 4 different areas in Palestine (Ramallah, Jerusalem, Gaza and Nablus), featuring 19 films (Palestinian, Arab and international) which tackled human rights issues. Karama Human Rights Film Festival in Palestine is an extension of KARAMA Jordan that has started in December 2010.

One Billion Rising For Justice
A V-Day World Rising
ASHTAR coordinated the Palestine flash mob and artistic activity, joining the V-Day call to the World to end violence against women. The activity took place in the streets of Ramallah in February 14, with the participation of many artists, local women's organizations and governmental bodies.

 "A Forgotten File"
A project with intellectually disabled children
In partnership with the Swedish Organization for Individual Relief (SOIR), ASHTAR partnered with An Nahda Women's Society, The Swedish Organization, Star Mountain Society, and Al Yasmine Charitable Society and trained 16 male and female students with intellectual disabilities alongside four teachers for four months. The training culminated with a forum play directed by Edward Muallem and Munira Zureiqi, "A Forgotten File" was based on real life stories of the participants.

“Sinbad and the Monster”
A children’s production
"Sinbad and the Monster" is an environmental play targeting school students of 10 – 15 years. Directed by Mohammad Eid, the play toured the Emirates with during Abu Dhabi Festival reaching several cities with seven performances. The play was also performed 8 times in Ramallah for UNRWA and private schools with the support of Paltel Group Foundation, the EU and Sida – Sweden.

ASHTAR Theatre International Youth Festival - ATiYF
ATiYF 2nd edition is the graduation project of ASHTAR's third year students in Ramallah; designed and run by and for youth in the form of 10 days Camp-Fest. This year ATiYF brought international and local youth theatre students in July to perform, exchange cultural and artistic skills, and experiences.
Throughout the 10 days 5 workshops in Movement, Political Theatre, and Theatre of the Oppressed, Comedia Dell' Arte and Scenography were conducted by local and international trainers and attended by 40 International and local theatre students.
The final performance was a Location presentation of all the participants held at the Ottoman Court in the Old City of Ramallah. This edition was funded by Sida-Sweden and the European Union; Supported by British Council, Goethe Institute, Ramallah Municipality and the European Cultural Foundation.

“The Gaza Mono-Logues” 2014
In the shadow of the Israeli inhuman attack on Gaza Strip in summer 2014; ASHTAR decided to revive "The Gaza Monologues" which has been produced and performed in 2010 in different countries by different Theaters around the World. Directed by Bayan Shbib, ASHTAR's Second and Third year students from Ramallah, joined by one graduate from Gaza presented the Monologues, in Ramallah and in an extensive tour of forty days with Kinder Kultur Karawane in Germany, in addition to three performances in Vienna. During this tour, 21 performances were presented in 17 cities and 5 workshops on Theatre of the Oppressed were conducted.

Gaza new psycho-social project
Based on what people had faced during 52 days of continuous attack and brutal killing, mostly of children and women and the massive destruction of homes and lives in Gaza; ASHTAR launched its psycho-social program the 'Stress release intervention through Drama' training the 22 graduates of ASHTAR Drama program led by Ali Abu Yaseen and psychologist Nadel Sha'ath to lead drama training for children in schools to ventilate their stress and fear, and help them rebalance.
This program reached 836 children aged 10 to 12 in 7 schools over four months with the support of Sida Sweden and Rosa Luxembourg Foundation. The program targeted children of the most devastated areas; Shajaieh, Rafah, Beit Hanoun, Khan Younes, and Khouza’a.

Al Qurqa’ Wal Mirya’
(The Guide and The Bell)
A forum play that tackles the challenges of the agricultural sector in Palestine; the play undertook a series of intensive research and field study to examine in depth the problems of the Agricultural field especially in the Jordan Valley. The play delves into a social, economic and political discourse to reveal the real challenges and obstacles the farmers face in the West Bank. Directed by Iman Aoun the play was performed 7 times in Ramallah this fall and will proceed in 2015. This production is the outcome of the strategic cooperation and support of Rosa Luxembourg Foundation Regional office in Palestine.

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