Monday 28 January 2013

The 4th International Festival of the Theatre of the Oppressed

The 4th International Festival of the
Theatre of the Oppressed
West Bank & Gaza

“Break Your Silence…Share Your Stories”
20 April – 10 May 2013


Background information:- 

Theatre of the Oppressed brings theatre to all segments of Palestinian society, and engages communities in democratic dialogue on daily issues they face and social taboos. The program creates a platform for social and cultural change, and gives a voice to the voiceless through its focus on underrepresented groups such as women and youth. 

1)- The Theatre of the Oppressed program has yielded 24 plays produced by ASHTAR
2)- 35 by local community group
3)-  A total of 957 performances have reached 114,200 audience members in communities throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

Additionally, ASHTAR has trained 258 community members in Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, and 11 “Jokers” to facilitate performances and thus multiply the outcomes of the program.

Internationally, ASHTAR conducted 3 regional and 2 international training sessions and set up 2 training centres for Forum Theatre in Yemen and Iraq in its capacity as the Middle East Regional Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed.

 Moreover, Ashtar bi-annually holds the “International Season of the Theatre of the Oppressed” in Palestine which brings a multitude of local and international theatre groups to the Palestinian audience and its fourth round will be implemented in 2013.

The first 3 festivals performed 27 different Forum Theatre plays from national and international theatre groups. These plays were performed 124 times all over the WB and Gaza and reached 15,000 audience members.  

1.   Target Groups:

ASHTAR aims to target high school and university students in addition to the general audience in WBG from rural, disadvantaged areas and refugee camps. Focus will be to the groups that face more social constraints and economic difficulties, those who are unlikely to attend cultural or theatrical activities which are mainly delivered to audiences in urban areas. The Festival will target various refugee camps and locations in East Jerusalem, Jericho, Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Hebron, Tulkarem, Selfeit, Qalqilia and Ramallah area as well as in Gaza to ensure their inclusion.

The categories targeted are women and youth, especially those who face lots of social restrictions due to the conservative and patriarchal attitudes in society, notably the ones who are unlikely to be able to move freely in order to attend theatrical activities in urban areas.

 Moreover, ASHTAR targets Palestinian theatre artists and community theatre groups who lack opportunities for vital artistic exchange with the international theatre scene, which would stimulate their creativity and potential for innovation. Coordination is already underway with Palestinian women’s and youth organizations, as well as national theatres often subjected to a lack of theatrical productions and activities. They are thus showing a huge interest in acquiring skills and knowledge about the use of theatre in general, and theatre of the oppressed in particular.

Students are a major target group; from secondary schools (UNRWA, Private and governmental) also from colleges and universities as well as Palestinian youth in youth clubs in WBG (age group 16-24). It is estimated based on experience from previous festival that we reach an audience of 5,000 persons; 60% females and 40% males with the majority from remote marginalized areas and marginalized groups.

By reaching all the above-mentioned segments of society, the Palestinian society as well as the Palestinian theatre scene as a whole will benefit from the Festival.

The International Theatre of the Oppressed Network will benefit through the exchange and dialogue between national and international artists and ASHTAR Theatre’s role as the “Middle East Regional Centre for the Theatre of the Oppressed” will be strengthened.

The participation of the audience in the theatre shows will be guaranteed through the interactive approach of the Theatre of the Oppressed technique which enables the participation of the audience members as “spect-actors”. In doing so the audience is invited to intervene in such a way as to change the dynamic of the situation. ASHTAR Theatre will collaborate closely with the cooperating women’s and youth organizations, and theatres to ensure reaching the target groups. Next to this, members of these organizations will be participating in the 2 “forum theatre” workshops. ASHTAR Theatre will also recruit local volunteers and field coordinators to maximise the local ownership and acceptance of the Festival.

Thus we plan to reach around 1,400 women and 800 men (44% of total audience). Youth reached are estimated to be around 2,800 persons, out of which 1,500 females and 1,300 males (56% of total audience).

1.   Project Activities and Time Frame:

Preparation phase - January to April 2013:

1.    Selection and invitation of local and international theatre groups (January)
(3 International groups and 8 local community groups and theatres)

2.    Recruitment of staff (January)

3.    Coordination of logistics (February – March)

4.    Finalizing festival’s programme March)

5.    Media and PR activities – (March - May)

6.    Local coordination (February – May)

Implementation phase - April to May 2013:

1.    Press Conference and Opening Ceremony (April)

2.    Tour of 33 performances all over the West Bank/Gaza and facilitation of 2 workshops in “Forum theatre and Image theatre” technique (April – May). 

3 Filming documentary film about the festival (April – May)


                  Closing phase – June 2013

1.    Monitoring and controlling, evaluation and reporting (June 2013)

In the closing phase, ASHTAR Theatre will evaluate the success of the festival, monitor and analyse the media response and write reports.



 Expected Results

ü  Local audience and particularly women «broke their silence and shared their stories» of gender inequality and discrimination and got empowered to take action towards social change

ü  33 forum theatre shows and 2 workshops in the « forum theatre » technique were performed and held in locations all over the West Bank/Gaza

ü  Audience opened their minds and acquired new perspectives on gender equality and women’s rights issues

ü  Local women’s and youth organizations and theatres acquired new skills and got empowered to use Theatre of the Oppressed in their work

ü  Base work for the setting up of new forum theatre community groups in several new place

ü  Palestinian artists and international colleagues built professional bridges and stimulated their creativity. 


P.O. Box 2127, Ramallah
Tel: +970-2-298-0037
Fax: +970-2-296-0326
P.O. Box 17170, East Jerusalem
Zip Code: 91171
Tel: +972-2-582-7218 

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