THEATRE FOR EVERYBODY
Jamal Al Rozzi and Hossam Madhoun are the Directors of Theatre for Everybody with whom Az Theatre have a ten-year (2009-2019) cultural exchange partnership. The current phase involves working with a group of 18-30 year olds in Gaza on drama and creative writing and the production of an original contemporary stage adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Plus a workshop in London of international artists, including Jamal and Hossam. This will be based on the extract from the meditation by John Donne that begins: ‘No man is an island’ so we are calling this the NO (HU)MAN IS AN ISLAND workshop. (more about this below)
What is GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM?
Our exchange partnership is called GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM. It developed from Az Theatre’s WAR STORIES project which worked with companies from Algeria, Palestine, Serbia, Kosovo, Italy and the UK and at theatre festivals in Romania and Turkey from 2002 to 2007, supported by the European Cultural Foundation and the Arts Council England.
It set out to create cultural exchange between artists and audiences in Gaza and London, to break down isolation and cultivate solidarity and to do so through creative work. It has created a model of participatory production and has refused to seek support from any government organisation.
GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM has generated work in four phases since 2009: GAZA GUERNICA, GAZA: BREATHING SPACE, GAZA OPENING SIGNS and WAR & PEACE: GAZA (PALESTINE)/LONDON (UK). It has organised numerous public events in the UK some of which have connected live with Gaza through Skype.
It has been supported by financial contributions from 100s of individuals and over 50 UK theatre artists (including Harriet Walter, David Calder, Maggie Steed, Tara Fitzgerald, David Lan, Jennie Stoller, Philip Arditti, Deborah Findlay, Caryl Churchill, Hassan Abdulrazzak and many more) have made creative contributions and appeared in person at our events that have attracted 100s and 100s of audience members. It has worked with over a hundred young people in Gaza and has explored theatre for those with hearing disability there and in London as well as linking theatre talent in both places.
It has engaged with London venues: Rich Mix, Soho Theatre and the Globe Theatre and has received support from International Committee for Artists Freedom, International Performers Aid Trust, British Shalom Salaam Trust, Street Theatre Workshop. It has worked alongside Culture and Conflict, the Shake! Community from Platform Arts.
We are looking for a group of young people here in the UK to make an exchange with the young people there who have come together around and activist journalist project: We Are Not Numbers. And we are looking for funds to do the War and Peace production and the NO (HU)MAN IS AN ISLAND workshop.
The NO (HU)MAN IS AN ISLAND workshop
A six-day workshop bringing together international stage artists with members of the Theatre for Everybody group from Gaza.
This is a key stage in the ten-year GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM project (2009-2019), a cultural exchange partnership between Az Theatre London and Theatre for Everybody Gaza.
The NO (HU)MAN IS AN ISLAND workshop is planned to happen in London in January 2017 and will offer audiences one or two presentations of work created and devised by the 10 participants directed by Jonathan Chadwick.
The aims of the workshop will be to:
Provide a creative interaction for the artists from Gaza, to meet and work with artists from the UK and other regions
Create as wide an access for audiences in the UK to this major international cultural exchange project.
Provide the GAZA DRAMA LONG TERM project partners with the opportunity to develop plans for the closing phase of the project within an inspirational context.
Act as the central event for the artists from Gaza to meet other groups and individuals who have supported the work (International Committee for Artists Freedom, British Shalom Salaam Trust, International Performers Aid Trust)
Work with other institutions and organisations (e.g. University of Manchester IN PLACE OF WAR project, University of Coventry Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, British Actors Equity, British Arab Centre) to offer a platform for them to share experiences of working, living and creating theatre in Gaza.