Ashtar Newsletter

ASHTAR Theatre participates in TAMAM’s master class at Avignon Festival
Rana Burqan, ASHTAR graduate, participated in the first master class of TAMAM Association as part of Avignon Festival – France in July 2015. The master class focused on watching 20 different performances at the festival, discussing them and writing critical articles about them. In addition to Palestine, the countries that participated in the master class were: France, Oman, Syria and Lebanon. The master class was led by the Syrian journalist and actor George Da’boul.

Ashtar NewsletterThe Forum Theatre Play “Al-Merya’a Wal- Qourqa’a” broadcasted on Ma’an TV
ASHTAR Theatre finished touring “Al-Merya’a Wal-Qourqa’a” Forum Play last August, with a televised performance screened on Ma’an TV, followed by a talk show that hosted Ibrahim Manasra- coordinator of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees in Bethlehem and Mahmoud Issa a farmer from the Jordan Valley.

ASHTAR also issued an analytical study written by Haya Atatrah in October 2015, about the suggestions of the audiences who attended the performances. The study highlighted the importance of the social, political and economic changes stimulated by Theatre of the Oppressed.

The play was performed 19 times in different cities and attended by more than 2,500 audience members. “Al-Merya’a Wal-Qourqa’a” discussed the agricultural difficulties and challenges the Palestinian farmers encounter. The play was produced in partnership with Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

“Drama inside the Classroom”
In continuation of its program Drama Training for Teachers, ASHTAR Theatre, in cooperation with the ministry of education, trained 66 public school teachers and educational supervisors from 41 elementary schools. The program aims at employing drama inside the classroom.

The program was divided into two phases; the first consisted of training the school teachers on how to use drama as a tool inside the classroom and the second were field visits by the trainers to the participating schools in order to supervise the teachers’ implementation of the training.

The program reached out to more than 3,000 students from Jenin, Toubas, Toulkarem, Qalqilia, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho.

The training was supported by UNICEF, led by Edward Muallem, Mohammed Eid, Munira Zurieqi and Mutasem Al-Atrash.

“Until Further Notice” and “The Syrian Monologues” in Amman.
ASHTAR presented the forum play “Until Further Notice” in September 2015, in Amman - Jordan. The play was directed by Mohammed Eid, and played by 18 Syrian refugees as part of the psychological support program they receive at Care Jordan.

The play tackles the problems facing the Syrian refugees living in the city of Amman concerning their work and housing. The participants’ ages ranged between 25 and 55 who arrived to Jordan between 2012 and 2014.

ASHTAR’s first phase of training with the Syrian refugees started back in February with Edward Muallem who trained 150 refugees; then 25 of them were chosen to continue the second phase which was divided into two parts: the forum play “Until Further Notice” and “The Syrian Monologues” whereby 20 refugees had written their personal testimonies about their last hours before the journey to Amman, the writing was supervised by Iman Aoun.

The Syrian Monologues were performed twice in Amman: at the International Day of Refugees and during the 16 Days of Activism against Violence part of Karama Festival.

ASHTAR Theatre also launched a call for its partners around the world to work with the Syrian refugees in their countries with the aim of collecting their stories in a book, in order to preserve the details of their personal experiences.

“A Court” ends its tour in the West Bank and Jordan
ASHTAR Theatre in cooperation with the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign ended in November its touring of the Street theatre Forum play “A Court” with a televised performance which will be screened on Ma’an TV.

Since the opening of the play in May 2015, it was performed 19 times in different cities in the West Bank, and reached more than 3,000 viewers. The play tackled three main problems people in the Jordan Valley face; working in the illegal settlements, the shortage of schools and the absence of transportation to reach them and the lack of health care, the play carried the stories of the participants to the streets and general public of the West Bank.

The play was the result of training 8 youth from the Jordan Valley alongside two graduates of ASHTAR on the techniques of Forum Theatre. The training and directing of the play was conducted by Iman Aoun. The play also presented three times in Amman and at Al-Baqa’a Refugee Camp, and Al-Shuneh Al-Janoubyeh in the Jordan Valley in cooperation with Sisterhood is Global Institute in Jordan.

This project is part of the Drama, Diversity and Development program, funded by the European Union in the framework of the regional program MedCulture, Prince Claus Fund, the Swedish Postcode Lottery, and Sida as part of the Palestinian Performing Arts Network; and is implemented by Minority Rights Group International, in partnership with the Civic Forum Institute and Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-violence Studies.

 Globe to Globe “Hamlet” in Ramallah
Under the auspices of the Ramallah Municipality, and in partnership with the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem, The British Council, and Mövenpick Hotel in Ramallah, ASHTAR Theatre hosted in October 27, 2015 the play “Hamlet” that is touring the world as part of the Globe To Globe tour.

The performance was held at Ramallah Cultural Palace, and was attended by more than 800 persons.

ASHTAR Theatre between top three candidates
for the Euro-Mediterranean Award for Dialogue between Cultures ASHTAR Theatre was chosen to be one of the top three candidates for the 10th Euro-Mediterranean Award for Dialogue between Cultures by Anna Lindh Foundation. 46 European and Arab institutions applied for the award. This year’s award was dedicated to initiatives which encourage cultural practices that work towards stopping hate speeches and not accepting others, and which contributes towards building alternative paths which relay on the positive understanding of diversity.

Ashtar Contact“Sinbad and the Monster” a new tour for school students
ASHTAR Theatre finished last October a tour of 14 performances for the environmental children’s play “Sinbad and the Monster”; with the support of the EU and the Palestine Cultural Fund – Ministry of Culture. The play targets school children from the Jordan valley area, Jenin and Ramallah, and encourages them to interact with the actors in order to  ive suggestions on how to avoid pollution and keep earth clean.

The play is directed by Mohammed Eid, and performed by Edward Muallem, Milad Kneibi, Rana Burqan, Yasmin Shalaldeh, and Fares Abu Saleh.

Forty Students in the Drama Training Program at ASHTAR 2015 – 2016
ASHTAR Theatre students, started with their new academic year in October 2015. 40 students are divided between four classes.

First year students are trained by Rana Burqan and they are working on a script from our popular heritage. Second year students, are trained with Mohammed Eid to present 3 short plays of Russian writer Anton Chekhov. The third year students are also working with Eid on Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”.

While Forth year students are working with Iman Aoun on the international call “Dear Children… Sincerely” - based on old people’s stories; in addition they are preparing for ASHTAR Theatre International Youth Festival - 3rd edition, which will be held in July 2016.

“Isolated” - A forum theatre play by youth group
ASHTAR Theater presented in August the Forum Play-“Isolated”, with a group of youth from Al Jalazon Refugee Camp, Ramallah and Nablus, trained by Razan Al Azzeh. The play “Isolated” tackled different forms of isolation in Palestine, such as: the female harassment in the streets; the prejudice actions between refugees and city dwellers, and the socialproblems between Palestinians as result of the apartheid wall.

The play is part of the project “ISOLAT” initiated by the Center of Theatre of the Oppressed – Paris and focuses on training youth groups from France, Italy, Portugal, Palestine and Romania on how to use Forum Theatre techniques to talk about their problems.

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