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The Freedom Theatre Organisational overview Annual Report 2016 Summary of activities 2017 Programme Plan 2018



Organisational overview Annual Report 2016 Summary of activities 2017 Programme Plan 2018

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Vision The Freedom Theatre’s vision is a cultural resistance movement at the core of a free and critical Palestinian society Mission Through cultural resistance, The Freedom Theatre aims to raise a new generation that is able to challenge all forms of oppression Objectives 1. To train professionals in the field of theatre, pedagogics and media to provide human resources for the enhancement of the cultural and artistic sector in Palestine. 2. To work in our community in order to strengthen collaboration, self-awareness, creativity and imagination. 3. To produce state of the art and thought-provoking theatre and media products and perform them locally, regionally and internationally. 4. To advocate good governance, accountability, equality, integrity and justice in Palestine, advocate for Palestinian rights internationally and promote The Freedom Theatre locally and internationally. 5. To maintain good administrative and management procedures in TFT.


Cultural resistance For the oppressed, the arts have always been a powerful tool against the oppressors. For us Palestinians, artistic expression is an integrated part of our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. We are subjected to apartheid, colonisation and military rule. This conditions and gives direction to our work at The Freedom Theatre. We are part of a movement, and our contribution to it is to create a platform for cultural resistance. Cultural resistance means different things to different people. Our own definition as The Freedom Theatre has grown out of our experiences during the past ten years and is rooted in our practical work, as well as in our analysis of the reality around us. In our perspective, cultural resistance is not a substitute for any other form of resistance; it is a complement. Various forms of resistance can be described as a large mosaic where each stone represents a different form. Cultural resistance is one of the stones - but not just any stone: it is the stone that gives the entire mosaic a pattern, meaning and direction. How The Freedom Theatre operates Membership TFT is a membership organisation. Members include current and former students, friends and partners as well as other residents of the Jenin area. TFT also has international members. Anyone above the age of 18 who has a basic understanding of TFT can become a member, but in order to vote at


the general assembly or be elected to the Board, members must have a Palestinian ID. Membership is open all year except one month before the general assembly. In addition to the general assembly, members are invited to at least one member meeting every year. Members are also encouraged to volunteer in TFT, and they are updated on the operations through a regular digest, as well as frequent updates on social media. TFT aims for the members to be actively engaged and is committed to taking into consideration the members’ suggestions and ideas. The Board of Trustees The Freedom Theatre Board of Trustees is elected annually in a General Assembly that takes place in May. The board of trustees must have a minimum of 7 members and a maximum of 13 members, and must elect a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary and treasurer according to the bylaws of The Freedom Theatre. The board members are not paid. They meet at least once every three months and are responsible for implementing the annual plan as approved by the general assembly within the framework of TFT’s bylaws. The general secretary provides the Board with quarterly reports (see below). The board is responsible for leading the organisation and implementing the mandate given to them by the General Assembly. Executive Committee The Executive Committee (EC) consists of the programme coordinators and senior managers of TFT as well as one ordinary and one substitute elected staff members.

The general secretary chairs the EC. The EC manages the ongoing operations of the organisation, concerning its policies and process manuals. The EC meets once a week. Half the EC members are elected by the general secretary and the other half by the staff members of The Freedom Theatre. General Secretary The general secretary is employed by the board and is responsible for overseeing the annual plan and that appropriate policies and procedures are followed. The general secretary is also responsible for the flow of information between the members, the board of trustees, the EC and staff and for compiling quarterly reports to the board, chairing the EC meetings and representing the EC at board meetings. Programme Coordinators The programme coordinators are responsible for implementing and overseeing the activities that fall under their particular programme, in addition to compiling reports to the general secretary so that progress can be monitored. The programme coordinators are also responsible for presenting future plans for their programmes, and need to make sure that programme targets are met. Quarterly reports Every three months, the programme coordinators and the accounting department report on their progress to the general secretary, and the general secretary reports back to the board. That way the organisation minimises the risk of diverting from the original plan and it makes all

implementing parties accountable to their commitments, where the board holds the ultimate responsibility for the successful implementation of the annual plan within the scope of the bylaws. Public domain Most of the documentation of TFT is considered to lie within the public domain and may be retrieved by contacting the general secretary with a letter stating the intention along with contact information. Documents that can be retrieved include the audits, annual reports, the quarterly financial and administrative reports, policy and procedural manuals, grant applications, donor reports, rent agreements and contracts with service providers. Spaces TFT operates mainly from its theatre, workshop and office complex in Jenin refugee camp, and its rehearsal hall in Jenin town. The facilities include: 1. A 150-seat theatre and cinema hall, changing rooms, storage and technical workshop as well as a rehearsal space. Fully accessible by wheelchair. 2. A set and general storage space. 3. An office with six rooms and a common meeting space. 4. A meeting/lunch room with merchandise display corner and a kitchen. 5. A rehearsal hall, library, costume storage and changing rooms, as well as rest and kitchen areas with full wheelchair access. 6. A child activity space with two playrooms with full wheelchair access. 7. A cinema room with partial wheelchair access.


ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2016 Financial and human resource procedures The Freedom Theatre’s financial and HR work is regulated by a set of manuals and policies that describe the correct procedures of implementation. TFT maintains a separation between its petty cash and accounts. The annual expenditures are regulated by the annual financial budget that is produced by the accountant and general secretary, based on the annual plan and presented to the board for approval. The actual expenditures are regulated by specific procedures and any expenditures are required to meet strict regulations, including support documents such as receipts and invoices, formal contracts, etc. TFT incomes are divided between four main sources: 1. Friends Association initiatives (10-15%). 2. Crowdfunding (5-10%). 3. Sales of artistic products and promotional merchandise (5-10%). 4. Grants from donor agencies (65-80%). The Friends of The Freedom Theatre are associations formed of people who believe in the work of The Freedom Theatre. The support of these groups has from the start been essential to the continuation and growth of TFT. The current groups are located in Portugal, Sweden, UK, USA and France.

Financial control and transparency The Freedom Theatre’s accounts are audited on an annual basis by an internationally certified audit agency. The auditors review the accounts of The Freedom Theatre and make sure that TFT operates in line with its set bylaws, which include a review of the minutes of the board and the number of meetings that have been held, as well as the member lists and records from the general assemblies. At times, this also includes specific projects. The auditors in 2012 and 2016 were Dahbour Auditing Establishment, and 2013-2015 Ernst & Young. The Freedom Theatre Foundation In 2006, The Freedom Theatre was registered as a Swedish Foundation because at that time it was not possible to register new Palestinian organisations. In 2007, when it became possible to register new organisations, The Freedom Theatre registered with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior as a non-profit association. At that time the Swedish Foundation handed over its assets to the Palestinian association after an agreement had been set up between the two organisations. Until today the Swedish Foundation continues to operate and provide a legal platform for TFT to operate on, under the regulation of a highly respected international board.

2016 IN BRIEF 2016, our ten-year anniversary, was an exceptional year for The Freedom Theatre. More than 10,000 children, youth and adults in Jenin refugee camp and across the occupied West Bank were involved in our workshops, trainings and performances in theatre, photo, film and creative writing, all aiming to generate critical perspectives, reimagine reality and challenge oppression. The highlight of 2016 was The Freedom Theatre’s ten-year anniversary celebration that included a six-day festival of theatre, music, circus, stand-up, poetry and dance performances by some of Palestine’s top artists, including a re-staging of one of our most successful productions to date, The Siege, and a discussion forum focused on the concept of cultural resistance. The events gathered over 1,300 participants from Palestine and abroad. This year we opened the doors to our own Child Centre for small children and initiated a one-of-a-kind training program in early childhood education for teachers from the whole Jenin area. We held ongoing theatre workshops for children and youth, as well as two summer camps; one focused on theatre and one on painting, and arranged a workshop in painting for children and young people with special needs. Our photography students made three exhibitions, Childhood, Shadow and Palestinian Identity. The first two exhibitions juxtaposed the dark and happy moments of childhood, while Palestinian Identity


depicted everyday life and handicraft in Palestine. The exhibitions were shown to 2100 audience members in Palestine. Two issues of the youth magazine Voices that focused on children in Palestine and the experiences of people working in The Freedom Theatre were distributed to youth in schools around Jenin as well as in other parts of the West Bank. Altogether, almost 12,000 youth read these stories. Our third-year acting students started the year in India where they performed a coproduction, Hamesha Saamida (Forever Steadfast) with the street theatre group Jana Natya Manch, that enabled us to explore the techniques of political street theatre and introduce the situation in Palestine to Indian audiences. The play was presented to at least 10,000 people in eleven locations across India. The Theatre School students also toured Portugal with two theatre productions, Return to Palestine and Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani, reaching audiences of 2,000 people through performances, workshops, talks, debates and documentary film screenings. The multimedia team went on an international tour, Palestine in Focus, showcasing the films, photos and texts in four locations in the United States. The Freedom Theatre was also invited to conferences, festivals, talks and events in the USA, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, India, Cambodia, UK and France, reaching many people with the message of cultural


resistance. We hosted 1,700 international guests at The Freedom Theatre that received a presentation of our work and sometimes a tour of the camp, and reached over 80,000 more through our social media channels. Thereby ,the Palestinian cause was also exposed to a wide audience. In Palestine, the performances, workshops and events promoted the unifying idea of one people under several forms of occupation and oppression. New collaborations emerged and existing partnerships deepened. We organised a 13day Freedom Ride with interactive cultural events to join the resistance of some of the most resilient Palestinian communities, and we also toured the play Return to Palestine across the West Bank in order to connect the communities and strengthen unity and mobilisation. We also performed for Palestinian and Syrian refugees in camps in Jordan. The majority of the performances of Return to Palestine were followed by playback theatre performances, where audience members were invited to share their personal accounts, experience the power in sharing stories, and see them being listened to and honoured through theatre.


THEATRE Theatre School The Freedom Theatre School is a threeyear educational programme with a focus on acting, devising and cultural resistance. While gaining professional acting skills, our students are encouraged to engage in their communities using drama as a tool for social and political change. The students, now in their third year, took part in a variety of workshops, enhancing their skills in areas such as Grotowsky, Chekhov and Boloslavsky theatre, playback theatre, street theatre, movement, voice and performing gender. By working with international and Palestinian instructors with different specialisations, and being trained in various techniques of theatre, the students diversified their skills and are after three years of study prepared to work professionally as actors and theatre trainers. The students were part of producing and performing three plays; Hamesha Saamida (performed in India, co-production with Jana Natya Manch), Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani (performed in Palestine and Portugal) and Return to Palestine (performed in Palestine, Jordan and Portugal).

“The quality of the final projects of the students was encouraging; each student presented an original piece deeply connected to their own artistic identity. There were stories of women in the resistance, of a ghost of a person in the Nakba generation meeting his great-grandson to realise the void that has become Palestinian identity, of a man who sells coffee in the street standing up to speak to an audience about his dreams and hopes to study and become someone else in a country that is not yet a country. All pieces had a common ground: a critical observation of the reality of individuals, their society and the world. The students all showed inspiring creativity and a mastery of theatrical communication.� Micaela Miranda, Theatre School Director


Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani and Return to Palestine were toured in communities across the West Bank, expanding the students’ knowledge of the socio-political context in different parts of occupied Palestine and increasing their ability to perform in varied settings and for diverse audiences. In addition to the public performances, the Theatre School students made three small presentations after a series of workshops, for invited audiences who gave the students feedback on their work. Study grants were given to the students, enabling them to study full-time and devote all their energy for their transition to becoming professionals. At the end of the year, five Theatre School students graduated after three years of study. As a graduation project, each student was given a sentence or word, out of which they produced a theatre piece. Under the guidance of the artistic and technical staff at The Freedom Theatre, the students were responsible for every aspect of the production, including script-writing directing, acting, set and props. Additionally, two theatre technicians also graduated in 2016 after two years of specialised training at PARC, Al-Harah Performing Arts Training Center in Bethlehem. Productions and Performances This year, Math Exam, a play for children produced in 2015, was performed during the winter school holidays, while the child


and youth theatre workshop participants presented Trash, a kids-for-kids play. Both plays highlighted the concerns of children in Jenin Refugee Camp in a comic style of theatre that made it possible to touch upon serious issues and create recognition among the audience members. The scripts were based on accounts by children in the refugee camp who participate in theatre workshops at The Freedom Theatre. “The process of creating the play started with theatre workshops with children. Through games, exercises and interviews with children, I understood that their reality is very different from the adult reality here in Jenin Refugee Camp. They, of course, know of the occupation, but it’s an abstract concept. They dream of simple things: going to the sea, travelling, flying on an airplane, and, most commonly, leaving school. This to me was the most interesting answer. Most of the children expressed how they dislike and fear their teachers or the teaching methods, and most of all they dislike the exams.” Ahmad Al Rokh, director of Math Exam In 2016, The Freedom Theatre produced Return to Palestine, based on extensive story-gathering through the interactive playback theatre method in communities across the West Bank, including Jenin refugee camp and city, Fasayel, Dheisheh refugee camp, Mufaqara, Um el Kheir, Nabi Saleh, Aida refugee camp and Al Azzeh refugee camp. The play was subsequently performed on streets and in community centres in these and other communities. The majority of the performances of Return to Palestine were followed by playback theatre sessions,

where audience members were invited to share their personal accounts that were subsequently transformed to short, improvised scenes. Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani was built around some of the central characters in the iconic Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani’s writings, representing different generations of Palestinians. As such, the play became an introduction to Kanafani’s literature, the history of Palestine and the current situation. Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani was performed to school pupils who also participated in postperformance discussions around the themes of the play. Audience feedback showed that the play made a big impact on the young spectators, some of which did not know of Kanafani’s writings previously and through the play felt connected to their cultural heritage. Teachers expressed great appreciation for the play as it managed to show Kanafani’s relevance to today’s young generation. Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani was also performed in Portugal as part of The Freedom Theatre’s first-ever tour there. The Siege, produced in 2015, was re-staged and performed to new audiences in Jenin. The play highlights the 2002 siege in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. In total, over 8400 people attended our performances in Jenin refugee camp and elsewhere in the West Bank. Internationally, we reached audiences of over 14,000 directly and many more indirectly through social media and news reports.

MULTIMEDIA Photography The Freedom Theatre ran three photography courses for 30 beginners and advanced students, children and adults. The groups produced three exhibitions: Childhood, Shadow and Palestinian Identity. The first two exhibitions juxtapose the dark and happy moments of childhood through images of children in Palestine, while Palestinian Identity depicts everyday life and handicraft in Palestine. They were exhibited to 2100 audience members in Palestine. Art workshop Multimedia volunteers ran a five-day art workshop for seven children and youth with different abilities, as well as a drawing and painting summer camp (described further under Child & Youth). Palestine in Focus The Freedom Theatre’s multimedia team was invited by The Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre (USA) to display the work of The Freedom Theatre in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Berkeley through photo, film and talks. Publications This year, The Freedom Theatre published two issues of the youth magazine Voices. 6000 copies were distributed to young people in schools in the Jenin area, in other parts of the West Bank and also made available online. One issue of Voices had a special focus on children in Palestine while the other featured people working in The Freedom Theatre.


CHILD & YOUTH In early 2016, The Freedom Theatre Child Centre opened as the realisation of a longterm ambition to provide both artistic and pedagogical activities to children of all ages, reconnecting with the work of Arna Mer Khamis, and more effectively challenging the difficulties children face. Playschool A daily playschool for small children (aged 0-5) was opened and The Freedom Theatre worked in close collaboration with early childhood specialists in Palestine and Sweden to train two teachers for the playschool. Creative after-school activities were added towards the end of the year and they are to be expanded further in 2017. Teacher-Training Program A one-year, part-time, training program in early childhood education was initiated towards the end of 2016, with eleven participants from the wider Jenin area who embarked on a challenging and inspirational journey of discovery and learning. The design of the program is based on theory, action and reflection. Theoretical lectures are combined with reflection sessions and practical application, first with the teachers and then with groups of children. The platform is the Holistic Integrated Approach to education developed by Palestinian early childhood specialist Jacqueline Sfeir.


Summer Camps Two summer camps were organised during the school holidays: one focused on theatre games and another on painting and drawing. The 10-day summer camps welcomed a total of 82 children aged 5-15. The facilitators made great efforts to create an atmosphere of playfulness through theatre games, painting, drawing, crafts, excursions and discussions. Team-building exercises aimed at overcoming age and gender barriers among the children, and allowed them to experience the difference of being together rather than apart. Theatre Workshops Theatre workshops were offered for 28 children aged 7-13. Participants were introduced to theatre through games and exercises. They also rehearsed Trash, a play that addressed the issue of garbage on the streets and public spaces of Jenin refugee camp and how this littering affects everyone who lives there. “The main purpose of the play is to give value to things that are not considered valuable and to promote good habits on sanitation: not only in terms of personal hygiene or keeping the places around us clean, but also to clean our thoughts and our society in order for us to achieve real independence and freedom.� Ahmed Tobasi, director of Trash


“In general we focused on giving the children experiences that were out of the ordinary for them; taking them out of their everyday lives of moving from home to school to the street. We went to the swimming pool - they love water! We took them to the forest, which is close by, but still very few of the children had been there before.” Alaa Shehada, theatre summer camp facilitator

Alaa Hlehel is an author, playwright and journalist, chief editor of Qadita website for literature and culture, translator for human rights and cultural organisations, as well as translator of books and plays. Alam Massad is a painter in plastic arts featured in local and international exhibitions, chairman of the board of Naqsh Troupe, and an activist in social and prisoner issues. Ayman Yousef is a professor in Political Sciences and International Relations, and Dean of the Arts

OTHER EVENTS Festival and Forum on Cultural Resistance As part of The Freedom Theatre’s tenyear anniversary, we organised a six-day Theatre Festival and Forum in Jenin refugee camp and city. Over 1300 people from Palestine and abroad visited the festival which included 15 performances in theatre, music, circus, stand-up comedy, poetry and dance by some of Palestine’s top artists. The festival also included a re-staging of The Siege, and a discussion forum focused on the concept of cultural resistance in Palestine, which introduced various aspects of cultural resistance to new audiences, and provided a platform for discussions among artists, cultural workers and community members. Among the speakers were Omar Barghouti, Ilan Pappé, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Hala Nassar, Khaled Katamesh, Ramzi Aburedwan, Nabil Al-Raee, Sudhanva Deshpande, Manal Tamimi and many others.

Faculty at Arab American University. Hala Nassar is a lecturer, researcher and writer on Arab/Palestinian theatre, literature and drama, and is considered the first Palestinian academic to focus on Palestinian theatre in Western academia. Ilan Pappé is a historian, professor at Exeter University and director of European Centre for Palestine Studies, as well as author of among other books The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Iyad Staiti is a musician and director of AlKamandjati, music instructor and a key figure in popularising oriental music. Khaled Katamesh is the director of El Funoun Dance Troupe, co-founder of the Popular Art Centre, former dancer, dance instructor and choreographer. Mazin Qumsiyeh is an author, professor, lecturer and researcher at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Institute for Biodiversity Research. Omar Barghouthi is an author, researcher and human rights activist who co-founded the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Sudhanva Deshpande is an actor and director with Jana Natya Manch, India, editor with LeftWord Books publishing company.



“These 5 days in Jenin were incredible. Everything: the theatre I discovered, the things I learned and understood about the political situation, the people I met.“ “Thank you so much for being such wonderful hosts for the recent Forum. I learned so much, and was so moved by seeing old friends, and meeting new ones, especially the students. I hope you will never lose track of the truly extraordinary things you are doing there — enabling people to hope, to ‘love life’, and — against all odds — to envision a positive future and to build it yourselves. Along the way, they have fun, and develop extraordinary hearts and minds. There were so many memorable moments for me, like seeing the amazing production of The Siege, one of the most beautiful and moving presentations on stage I’ve ever seen. As if all that were not enough, you also organized a TOP LEVEL conference.” “I found the variety of speakers very illuminating. There was also a very warm hospitality aspect which made it feel more personal than many other such similar events.” Freedom Bus The Freedom Bus project carried out two shorter Solidarity Stays and an annual, 13day, Freedom Ride in Jenin, Bil’in, Nabi Saleh, the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills. People from across Palestine and abroad joined residents in some of the most oppressed Palestinian communities where they participated in interactive cultural events and actions, volunteer work and workshops. The ride had 50 participants and involved close to 1500 people through performances and events. The Freedom Ride was organised in close cooperation with the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee and the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign, along with other popular struggle committees in the communities involved in the ride. Hosting Performances, Events and Organisations The Freedom Theatre hosted performances by Al Harah Theatre, Ashtar Theatre, Quds Art, Yes Theatre, The Palestinian Circus School, as well as individual artists such as Amer Hlehel and Mo’min Switat. Throughout the year, we also made our theatre hall and workshop spaces available to other organisations and artists in Jenin, including Naqsh Popular Art, Kay La Nansa and Palestinian Circus School, local kindergartens, and associations. Hosting visitors Over 1700 people from Palestine and throughout the world visited the theatre to learn more about our programs and activities. The theatre also arranged overnight stays for visitors who were welcomed into the homes of residents in Jenin Refugee Camp.



Social Media The Freedom Theatre’s online visibility expanded through intentional efforts to increase our presence in Arabic social media channels. At the end of the year, there were over 20,000 likes on the Arabic and English facebook pages. TFT Facebook (English), Likes: 11,500

The year in numbers

TFT Facebook (Arabic), Likes: 8,000

Audience members in Palestine: 12,500

Freedom Bus Facebook (English), Likes: 4,200

Audience members outside Palestine: 14,000

Twitter, English, Followers: 2,100

Participants in trainings and workshops in Palestine: 250

Twitter, Arabic, Followers: 33

Visitors to The Freedom Theatre: 1,700

Instagram (English), Followers: 1,000

Palestinian communities toured:

Instagram (Arabic), Followers: 219

Social media outreach: 80,000

Websites (2016), users: 41,400 and sessions: 50,100

Performances in Palestine: 45

Email lists: 18,300 (global), 1,100 (Arabic)

Performances outside Palestine: 34


Issues of Voices distributed: 12 Media coverage (number of published articles: 100

Media coverage The Freedom Theatre was featured in over 40 media outlets internationally, in countries such as India, Sweden, USA, UK and Portugal. Over 60 media features were made of The Freedom Theatre in Palestinian media. Capacity-Building and Changes in Management During 2016, The Freedom Theatre continued to develop its management and administration systems for improved sustainability, accountability and efficiency. The work resulted in strengthening the mandate of the General Assembly and the Board of Trustees, replacing the position of managing director with a general secretary and further developing the Executive Committee. A range of organisational reference materials such as procedural manuals and policies were developed. Much emphasis was put on long-term planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of all areas of the theatre’s operations. The artistic and pedagogical capacity of the theatre were also enhanced through trainings in acting methodologies such as Commedia Dell’Arte in Holland and Italy, and Street Theatre in India, theatre for and with children in Sweden and the UK, and stage management in Wales. “...It was with great pleasure and honour that I was recently able to suggest to the board of The Freedom Theatre that Mustafa Sheta, a great leader and comrade, take on the role of a general secretary and that the position of managing director be terminated. I was also glad that my request to continue contributing to the work of The Freedom Theatre as a general member of staff was accepted. It is with great pride in what we have achieved together that I stand here today. Extract from resignation speech by Jonatan Stanczak, former managing director, current program coordinator


Countries performed and presented in: 11

Membership The Freedom Theatre Association had 55 members during 2016. The members were encouraged to engage in The Freedom Theatre’s activities as participants, spectators and volunteers, and, in addition to the General Assembly, one meeting was arranged for members.

ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES Board of directors The members of the board of The Freedom Theatre, as elected at the General Assembly in May 2016, are the following: 1. Bilal Saadi, Chairperson (BS) 2. Omar Kabeya, Treasurer (OK) 3. Shireen Jarar, Secretary (SJ) 4. Emad Abu-Hantash, Vice chairperson (EH) 5. Ibrahim Ramadan, Secretary of the artistic committee (IR) 6. Abed Zubeidi (AZ) 7. Mohammad Ruzzi (MR) 8. Ibrahim Abu Khaliefah (IA) 9. Ghassan Tirawi (GT)


Meeting 1 2 3 4 5 6

Date (2016) 28 Mar 8 Jun 21 Jul 11 Aug 6 Oct 20 Nov

Attended by All All BS, OK, SJ, IR, GT, MR BS, OK, SJ, IR, GT BS, OK, SJ, IR, AZ, EH BS, OK, SJ, IR, MR, EH

In addition, the chairperson, treasurer and secretary of the board has met with the TFT management weekly for financial and administrative matters, a total of 35 meetings during 2016. The artistic committee consisting of a board representative, the artistic director and general secretary of TFT has not held any meetings but communicated over email.

NETWORKS AND PARTNERSHIPS Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN) The Freedom Theatre is part of the Palestinian Performing Arts Network, PPAN, which connects performing arts organisations in a network that aims to “contribute towards the development of a democratic and pluralistic society that respects human rights and enhances Palestinian national identity”. The network also advocates for arts and culture to be at the forefront of national priorities, by acting as a collective voice towards decisionmaking. PPAN consists of Al Kamandjâti Association, Al-Harah Theatre, A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ashtar for theatre productions and training, El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe, The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, The Freedom Theatre, The Magnificat Institute, The Palestinian Circus School, Popular Art Centre, Theatre Day Productions and Yes Theatre. The Palestinian Performing Arts Network organised a joint cultural event at An-Najah University in Nablus, with participation and contribution by all PPAN members, including theatre, music, workshops, lectures and much more. Several workshops and planning meetings were also held during the year.


Main partners in Palestine 2016 Ajja Village Council Al Kamandjâti Association Al Kasaba Drama Academy Al Nadi Youth Club, Jenin refugee camp Al Ouda Center, Tulkarem Al Kasaba Theatre, Ramallah Arab American University, Jenin Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society, Aida refugee camp Al Quds Open University, Jenin An Najah University, Nablus Arrabe Cultural Palace Ashtar for Theatre Productions and Trainings, Ramallah Cinema Jenin Enlightenment Forum, Nablus Ibdaa cultural centre, Dheisheh refugee camp Jalameh Municipality Jordan Valley Solidarity Kay La Nansa, Jenin refugee camp Khutwa, Arrabee Ministry of Education, Jenin Naqsh for Popular Art, Jenin Nazareth Troupe for Popular Arts Palestinian Circus School, Birzeit Popular Committee for Services in Jenin refugee camp Quds Art, Jerusalem Refugees Network, Palestine South Hebron Hills Popular Committee UNRWA Schools, Jenin refugee camp Women Centre, Jenin refugee camp Women Cooperative, Jenin Yafa Center, Balata refugee camp Yamoun Municipality Yes Theatre, Hebron

Main international partners Internationalt Forum, Denmark Jana Natya Manch, India Studio Safdar, India Teatro Art’Imagem, Portugal Teatro da Barraca, Portugal Teatro do Bolhão, Portugal Artisten, Sweden Garaget, Sweden Gothenburg University, Sweden Greenhouse Malmö, Sweden Masthuggsteatern, Sweden Riksteatern Gothenburg, Sweden Unga Klara, Sweden RegionTeater Väst, Sweden LA Peña Cultural Center, USA Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), USA NYU Drama School, USA Palestine Center, USA The Theatre Communications Group, USA Verso Books, USA Friends Associations As every year, The Freedom Theatre’s Friends Associations have made invaluable contributions to our work, through networking, fundraising and representation all over the world. • Associacao dos Amigos do teatro da Liberdade da Palestina. • Frihetsteaterns Vänförening, Malmö, Göteborg and Stockholm, Sweden. • Les Amis du Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine, France. • The Friends of The Jenin Freedom Theatre, United States. • UK Friends of The Freedom Theatre, United Kingdom.


Donors and supporters European Commission through PPAN Medico International Playgrounds for Palestine Swedish Institute Creative Force Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) through PPAN Swedish Postcode Lottery Cultural Foundation SouthMed CV We are equally grateful to the many individuals all over the world, who supported the theatre through private donations. Each and every one of them are regarded as members of the extended family of The Freedom Theatre. Staff Adnan Naghnaghiye, Location and Stage Manager Ahmad Al-Rokh, Actor and Instructor Ahmed Mattahen, Stage Designer and Theatre Technician Ahmad Tobasi, Resident Artist Alaa Shehada, Theatre School Coordinator


Baraa Sharqawi, Photography Instructor Fadwa Arrawe, Early Childhood Facilitator Ghada Balalw, Early Childhood Facilitator Habeeb Al-Raee, Stage Manager Haneen Haj Ibrahim, Social Media Coordinator Isra Mustafa, Accountant Johanna Wallin, Communications Officer Jonatan Stanczak, Program Coordinator Micaela Miranda, Theatre School Director Miriyam Abu Ateyah, Housekeeper Mohammed Moawia, Multimedia Coordinator Mohammed Yousef, Production Stage Manager Mustafa Sheta, General Secretary Nabeel Al-Raee, Artistic Director Rania Wasfi, Program Coordinator Sami Saade, Sound Engineer and Theatre Technician Suzan Wasfi, Early Childhood Training Program Coordinator Volunteers Abdelrahman Kholof Adolfo Carrosco

Agneta Regell Ala’a Al Sheikh Ibraheem Ashraf Natour Bahaa Abu Salah Bryan MacCormack Etab Haroon Faheem Awad Fatima Seedat Hala Diab Jane King Kefah Yousef Saleh Khaled Hardan Mahmoud Kholof Mahmoud Qasrawi Majd Sanore Mathew Wernham Marco Becherini Maria Kapustina Mohammad Abu Bakr Mohammad Abu Khoroj Nedal Jabareen Oliver Dawe Remas Saabne Rik Walton Ruqaya Diab Ruth Sutcliffe Stephen Wangh Suzanne Axelsson

Swedish Foundation In addition to being registered as a nongovernmental organisation under the Palestinian Authority, The Freedom Theatre is also registered as a foundation in Sweden. The Freedom Theatre Foundation Executive Board Avraham Oz Dror Feiler Henry Ascher Judith Butler Taiseer Khatib Luisa Morgantini Salwa Nakkara Suzanne Osten Khulood Badawi The Freedom Theatre Foundation Honorary Board Abeer Kopty Elias Khoury Etienne Balibar Howard Brenton Michel Khleifi Noam Chomsky Salim Daw Sana’a Badawi


FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2016 INCOMES (ILS) Total incomes for the year was 1.926.216 divided between: Governmental and non-governmental institutions: 1.270.192 (66%) Friends and supporters: 454.976 (24%) Earned incomes: 201.048 (10%) EXPENSES (ILS) Total expenses for the year were 2.012.278 divided between: Project expenses: 1.471.082* Administrative and general costs: 449.396** Other expenses: 91.827***

Notes: * Project expenses are divided between the main programmes and projects in TFT as described under the activity report above. Project expenses are covered by governmental and non-governmental institutions. ** Administrative and general costs include all the expenses that have been covered by funding from unrestricted sources and that include earned incomes and incomes from friends and supporters. *** Other expenses include currency exchange loss and depreciation of property and equipment.



SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES 2017 As agreed by the General Assembly of May 2016 MULTIMEDIA Basic and advanced training in photography will be offered to young adults, while groups of children will receive basic training. Two photography exhibitions will be presented. • One film will be produced about the Freedom Bus project. • Once a month, a public film screening will be arranged, with ensuing discussions. • Two issues of the youth magazine Voices will be published. • One anthology and one photography book will be published, illustrating the experiences of The Freedom Theatre’s first ten years of existence and discussing the concept of cultural resistance. THEATRE • British comedians Mark Thomas and Sam Beale will give a comedy workshop at The Freedom Theatre, that will end with a public presentation and the establishment of a comedy club in Jenin. • The play Return to Palestine, produced in 2016, will be toured, offering over 30 performances across the West Bank. • An adaptation of the famous Swedish children’s story about Pippi Longstocking, the strongest girl in the world, will be produced to be performed in Palestine and Sweden in early 2018. • The Siege will be re-staged and performed in the United States in October. • The kids for kids play Trash, developed in 2016, will be performed in February. Theatre workshops and recruiting events During the first half of the year, theatre workshops and recruiting events will be


arranged in order to prepare for a new class of students in the three-year training program in acting, devising and cultural resistance. Theatre training of trainers Training will be offered to Theatre School graduates and others in theatre work with children, increasing capacity in order to further develop our theatre program for children and youth. CHILD & YOUTH Playschool The daily playschool activities will continue and expand to include a maximum of 12 children (six per facilitator). If circumstances allow, a third group of children and one facilitator will be added. Parents Circle Once a month, a special meeting for primarily mothers, also open to other mothers in the neighbourhood, will be held on different topics. Once per semester a meeting will also be arranged for fathers. After-School The after-school program will expand with activities on weekends and afternoons, when the Child Centre will be open to 40-50 children aged 5-12. Activities will include various forms of play and creation, as well as storytelling, dabke, film, painting, theatre, photography and English (through songs, games and stories). Theatre Clubs Theatre clubs for children will continue and new groups for youth will be added. The

clubs will mainly focus on theatre games, exercises and creations of plays that are presented to family and friends. A series of theatre workshops will also be held in other locations around Jenin to introduce youth to the theatre. From those workshops 2-4 clubs will be established. Summer Camp During the summer school holidays, a summer camp will be offered to approximately 50 children aged six and above. Activities will include photography, theatre, movement, drawing and painting. Teacher-Training Program The one-year training program in early childhood education initiated in late 2016 will continue. The eleven participants will receive training in various aspects of work with small children in theory and practice, including ‘The holistic child: physical, social, emotional and cognitive development’, ‘Learning in nature and learning through art’, ‘Creating positive group dynamics and healthy relations between children and child-teacher’, ‘The third teacher – planning the space’, ‘Health and safety’ and ‘Administration, planning, monitoring and evaluation’. In August, the participants who have performed best throughout the course will go on a two-week study trip to Sweden.

work and pedagogy of The Freedom Theatre. Celebration of Cultural Resistance April 4 is the anniversary of the unsolved 2011 murder of Juliano Mer Khamis, The Freedom Theatre’s co-founder, as well as the anniversary of the 2002 Battle of Jenin. Friends from Palestine and abroad will be invited to three days of performances, film screenings and photo exhibitions, and the graduation ceremony of the students of The Freedom Theatre School. The Freedom Theatre Friends Gathering The Friends of The Freedom Theatre will have an annual gathering as part of the celebration of cultural resistance. Ramadan Events During Ramadan, The Freedom Theatre will offer film screenings, concerts and other events once a week in the evening. National and International Anniversaries and Commemorations The Freedom Theatre will acknowledge national and international anniversaries and commemorations such as Land Day, International Women’s Day, Nakba Day, International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, etc.

EVENTS International Theatre Workshop On April 2-8, The Freedom Theatre will invite international theatre activists, professional artists, theatre students and teachers, to participate in a workshop that will offer training of actors of resistance, presenting the


ACTIVITY PLAN FOR 2018 The programmes of The Freedom Theatre in 2018 will include the following: MULTIMEDIA • The training of competent, critical and creative photographers will continue with another two groups of participants who will learn how to master a camera and, more importantly, to tell stories through the lens. • At least two photo exhibitions will be produced and presented, focusing on topics of importance in our community. • A film training programme will be launched, that will focus on training in camera, editing and storytelling, with the aim of establishing a professional filmmaking training programme in TFT. • Monthly screenings of thought-provoking films followed by engaging debates will continue. • An arts workshop will be held for youth during the summer. THEATRE SCHOOL The theatre school will continue to train future generations of Palestinian actors, directors, playwrights, drama teachers and cultural resistance activists. • A new group of students will start a training programme in acting, devising and cultural resistance. During the course of their studies, they will produce theatre scenes, plays and presentations, furthering their development into professional actors. • Master courses related to acting, theatremaking and performing arts will be held according to need and availability. • A summer theatre camp and festival will give opportunity for theatre amateurs to develop their skills through a set of training modules in acting and devising, culminating in a joint presentation.


CHILD AND YOUTH • The Freedom Theatre’s playschool will continue and will include even more children who will be thus given a space to discover the world through play by using their imagination, creativity and unique individual skills under the guidance of competent facilitators. • Creative photography courses will be held for three groups of children during the year. These will focus on telling stories through the lens, be it a camera or a smartphone. • The after-school programme will continue to provide creative activities such as dance, theatre, photography, painting, free play and storytelling to children after school hours and during the weekends. The scope will depend on the availability of volunteers from the community willing to contribute time for the benefit of children in the camp and town. • A creative summer camp will be run with the help of volunteers and include theatre, photography, painting and excursions around Jenin, for 50-80 children. • Theatre clubs for children and youth will continue and expand to more communities in the Jenin area. Our aim is to have at least two theatre clubs for children and two theatre clubs for youth running throughout the year. • Meetings for parents will continue and focus on relevant topics such as nutrition and health, behavioural difficulties among children, play, etc. THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

• A play for children based on the story of Pippi Longstocking will be toured in in spring, and another play for children will be produced at the end of the year. A play for youth will be produced during the spring and a play for general audiences in the autumn. The plays will be presented to audiences in Jenin, as well as to other parts of occupied Palestine. • The Freedom Theatre will continue hosting performing arts ensembles from Palestine and abroad. International appearances • The Siege will be performed in the United States in collaboration with the US Friends of The Freedom Theatre. • We aim to tour The Siege in France and Switzerland, in collaboration with the Friends of The Freedom Theatre in France. • Pippi Longstocking will be toured in Sweden in the spring, in collaboration with the Swedish partner Regionteater Väst. EVENTS • On April 4, the annual celebration of cultural resistance in memory of Juliano Mer Khamis will take place. The event will include performances of theatre, discussions and meetings, all focusing on exploring the concept of cultural resistance and furthering the unification of the various forms of resistance in Palestine and abroad. • Social and political days will be commemorated, among them being International Women’s Day, Land Day, International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and Nakba Day. Events will be organised in collaboration with local and international partners through solidarity and action.

ADMINISTRATION • In May, the General Assembly of TFT and elections for a new Board of Directors will be held. • At least one member meeting will be held to engage members in TFT’s work. • TFT will continue to contribute to the aims and vision of the Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN) by being an active member with a critical voice through advocacy campaigns, joint events and increased collaboration between its members as well as development of policies and procedures for the cultural sector. • Further measures to increase accountability, efficiency, sustainability and transparency of TFT management and administration will be carried out, including submission of quarterly administrative and financial reports, monitoring and analysing our programming and financial plans, archiving of information and development of internal communication systems, maintenance of manuals for procurement, finance and HR, and frequent communication with partners, stakeholders and friends. COLLABORATIONS AND OUTREACH Collaborations and partnerships will continue to be a core feature of The Freedom Theatre’s operations. We will cooperate with our partners in the Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN) with joint events and advocacy, and in the Jenin area we will collaborate with local organisations towards stronger and more productive relationships. Internationally, we will collaborate with our existing and new Friends Associations, as


‘There is something I want to tell you, Amal. I was welcomed by a family in Dheisheh refugee camp and immediately made a friend, a boy called Malek, about my age. Malek died three days ago, in my arms, shot in the chest by the Israeli army. My sister, never shall I forget Malek’s eyes holding on to life, nor shall I forget the grief that molded his mother’s face into its traits forever. After burying him, I went out of the cemetery and the camp suddenly seemed to me like something new. It seemed just the beginning. I imagined that the main street was only the beginning of a long, long road leading to Shujaya. Malek lost his life when he threw himself into the frontline, fighting guns with a rock. He could have stayed home. He could have saved himself. But he didn’t. Why? No, my dear sister, I’m not coming back to America, and I have no regrets. This feeling that you had as you left Palestine, this small feeling must grow into a giant deep within you. I won’t come to you. But you, return to us! Come back, to learn from Malek’s eyes what life is and what existence is worth. Come back, my sister! We are all waiting for you.’ Extract from the play Return to Palestine directed by Micaela Miranda, performed at The Freedom Theatre in 2016 and 2017.


We need you! well as with other partners. The Freedom Theatre is a member organisation and we are nothing without our members. As a member, we kindly ask you to: • Participate in our performances, activities and events, and make suggestions for future activities. • Share information about our performances, activities and events, on social media and elsewhere, to spread the work of The Freedom Theatre and cultural resistance to more people. • Join us as a volunteer in our after-school activities, events and community initiatives, reinforcing the spirit of volunteerism in our community. If you live outside Palestine, you can support us by: • Sharing information about The Freedom Theatre on social media and elsewhere. • Joining one of our current Friends associations or starting a new. • Applying for a volunteer position at The Freedom Theatre. • Endorsing the BDS movement. • Making a monthly or annual donation to our work.

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Annual Report 2016  

Read all about The Freedom Theatre's achievements in 2016 and plans for the coming years.

Annual Report 2016  

Read all about The Freedom Theatre's achievements in 2016 and plans for the coming years.