The Gaza Opening Signs project which is the current phase of the Gaza Drama Long Term project, a collaborative partnership between Az Theatre in London and Theatre for Everybody in Gaza is well underway and is involving more and more people as it moves forward.
Facing the situation of deliberate mass civilian punishment and a strategic underdevelopment that amounts to a quasi-genocidal operation by the Israeli state with the compliance and collusion of the so-called international community, the people of Gaza need more than a drop in the ocean.
That’s the way I would describe our project, just a drop in the ocean.
All the work in the UK is voluntary. We have a team of three people working on the project, two of our team, Ciara Brennan and Caroline Moore are working directly with the wonderful drama teacher and nine young people at College Park School London. They are calling in movement expertise from Sissy Likou and theatre signing skills from David Sands. The young people are getting a quality input and the project is impacting on the school community which includes other staff and parents. You can read about the progress of this work on this blog by going to the Gaza Opening Signs at College Park School strand.
We need to raise another £1000 to reach our fund-raising target. This will enable us to follow up the money we have sent to Gaza for the training process. This training consists of two phases. One, is the training of Theatre for Everybody directors, Jamal Al Rozzi and Hossam Madhoun in signing for the deaf. Two, is the training of a group of four young practitioners, two of whom are deaf, in drama workshop facilitation.
Listen to what Theatre for Everybody director, Hossam Madhoun, has to say about our project:
These are the trainee drama workshop leaders in Gaza:
Here they are in action during one of the training sessions run by Theatre for Everybody:
The next stage in Gaza will be the workshop programme with a group of young people from Deir Al Balah. This will be a very special group because some of them will be deaf and some of them won’t. We are accomplishing our aim of working across disabilities and across frontiers. Working for good communication, breaking down barriers and creating an exchange between the project there in Gaza and the project here in London.
The other member of the London team, Jenny Bakst, amongst the other things she has done for the project, was responsible for producing the successful project launch event at the Sackler Studios at The Globe Theatre in London on Saturday 22nd September. Watch the short video describing this event.
The issue of deafness and disability is of real and symbolic importance. As Theatre for Everybody director, Jamal Al Rozzi says in our GAZA BREATHING SPACE FILM, for the deaf in Gaza it is like suffering an internal siege. Engaging with abilities and disabilities, moving beyond frontiers, drawing people into knowing the consequences of political positions, using creativity as a means both of communication and of self realisation, our project is a drop in the ocean which is making waves….and signs!