For Palestine: The Freedom Jatha 2015
In the first ever India-Palestine theatre collaboration, The Freedom Theatre (TFT) from Jenin is collaborating with the Indian theatre group, Jana Natya Manch (Janam) this coming winter.
The Freedom Theatre is one of the leading Palestinian theatres. Just as Safdar Hashmi was killed during a performance in 1989, the founder of TFT Juliano Mer Khamis, was shot dead outside the theatre.
In November 2015, eight artistes from TFT will arrive in India for three months. They will take part in intensive workshops with Indian theatre experts. Along with actors from Janam, they will prepare a joint production, which will travel to 10 Indian cities in December-January 2015-16.
“It will be a great experience for the young artistes from Palestine to share their ideas of freedom and liberation with Indian audiences,” said Faisal Abu Alhayjaa, artistic leader of the project from TFT. “Indian culture, cinema and theatre have been great inspirations for us, and we hope that this will lead to many more such cultural exchanges between our two countries.”
“Over twenty different cultural organizations are partnering with Janam to make this incredible tour happen,” said Sudhanva Deshpande the artistic leader of the project from the Indian side. “A number of artistes are keen to associate with the production and the tour in a variety of ways.”
Many leading Indian artistes and intellectuals have welcomed the tour. The famous actor Sharmila Tagore says, “I think it is very important for artists of different countries and cultures to connect with each other. That this artistic collaboration is taking place without the mediation of any funding agency or international organization makes it more exciting still — this is a direct dialogue between artistes of the two kindred civilizations.”
Sanjna Kapoor, co-director, Junoon, who are one of the partners in this project, says, “This is a really important journey, where people from two lands get to meet each other, through performance. Palestine will meet India in this totally unique and wonderful way.”
“The Palestine Solidarity Committee welcomes this upcoming artistic collaboration,” said Prabir Purkayastha on behalf of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. “We pledge this initiative all support.” The committee consists of leading public figures including filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Saeed Mirza, writers Githa Hariharan and Nayantara Sahgal, and artist Vivan Sundaram.
The famous Indian artist Orijit Sen has designed the visual identity of the tour (above), as well as four other unique artworks for the tour.
Another partner in the programme is the Studio Safdar Trust which was set up in 2013 to manage an alternate theatre space in West Delhi and will be hosting all the workshops and the play-making sessions for the collaboration. The Tour is supported through various local city organizers, Junoon in Mumbai, Samudaya in Bengaluru.
About the Freedom Theatre, Palestine
The Freedom Theatre is a Palestinian community-based theatre and cultural center located in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the northern part of the West Bank. Established in 2006, the theatre aims to generate cultural resistance through the fields of popular culture and art as a catalyst for social change in the occupied Palestinian territories. The theatre’s goals are to “develop a vibrant and creative artistic community empowers children and young adults to express themselves freely and equally through art emphasizing professionalism and innovation." The theatre teaches courses in film, photography, creative writing, and theatre.
The Freedom Jatha Tour Schedule is given below. Several organisations in these cities are coming together to make the tour happen. The exact details of venues, times, etc., will get confirmed by mid-November.
Fri 18: Lucknow
Sat 19: Lucknow
Sun 20: Bhopal
Mon 21: Bhopal
Fri 1: Delhi (Dr. Ambedkar Park, Jhandapur village, Site IV Industrial Area, Sahibabad; the site of Safdar Hashmi’s martyrdom)
Mon 4: Mumbai
Tue 5: Mumbai
Wed 6: Mumbai
Thu 7: Mumbai (Sitara Studio; entry by invitation only)
Sat 9: Thalassery, Kerala
Sun 10: Kozhikode
Mon 11: Mallapuram
Tue 12: Kozhikode
Wed 13: Bangalore
Thu 14: Bangalore
Fri 15: Bangalore
Sat 16: Bangalore
Sun 17: Hyderabad
Mon 18: Hyderabad
Tue 19: Hyderabad
Thu 21: Kolkata
Fri 22: Kolkata
Sat 23: Kolkata
Sun 24: Patna
Mon 25: Patna
Wed 27: Delhi (Ambedkar University)
Watch a 4-minute video where Ram Rahman, Sanjna Kapoor, Anurupa Roy, Neel Chaudhuri, Samah Mahmood and Sudhanva Deshpande speak about the upcoming collaboration here
Here are three short videos (1 minute or less) of statements by students of The Freedom Theatre on the upcoming India tour, and what it means to them. Watch Ihab
Sudhanva Deshpande, recites extracts and poems of resistance from the master poets of the Arab world, Palestine and the Middle-East at a time when the region is going through one of the most historic revolutions of our times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hcm-u0agPOw
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