Take a journey with me

The group wrote this poem during the first session back after half term. Over the next four weeks they will use it to create a piece of visual vernacular with the deaf actor, David Sands. We will film their devised ‘vernacular’ each week and use it to create a performance based film which will be shared with the young people in Gaza.


I fly, I whoosh, I breeze

Take a journey with me


It starts at Paddington Station

in the crowded carriage full of men in suits and women in make up

We go through the tunnels, whizzing past houses and gardens

Past bikes and boats and buses.


I fly, I whoosh, I breeze

Take a journey with me


Like a bird I flutter through the smokey air

Through green parks and never-ending office blocks

From above I watch people like ants going bowling or ice skating.


I fly, I whoosh, I breeze

Take a journey with me


As free as the wind I race through Piccadilly

I scare the pigeons and tickle people’s heads

I dream of taking a dandelion flower to the top of the London Eye

Watching it dance in the breeze.


I fly, I whoosh, I breeze

Take a journey with me


During our last session before the half term holidays, we began to explore through films and photographs what Gaza was like? who lived there? and what they did for fun?

When preparing for the session I watched ‘THE GAZA BREATHING SPACE FILM‘ again, looking for parts of the film that would appeal to and be accessible for our group. Although they were few and far between, I though the small number of clips I had selected would help the young people understand a little more about the situation in Gaza.

Initially I thought this would be an exciting and thought provoking session for the young people, but very quickly it became obvious that Gaza was a very difficult concept to understand or even explain in an appropriate manner.

What is Gaza like? Why can’t the people who live there go on holiday? Why can’t the people just go through the tunnels to Egypt? Why did Israel do that?

How do we answer these questions? How do we make the answers understandable? and what can we do to continue our groups passion and thirst for knowledge about Gaza?

A drop in the ocean is making waves

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:

Trainee Drama Workshop leaders in Gaza

Here they are in action during one of the training sessions run by Theatre for Everybody:

Gaza Opening Signs trainees in action

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!

An exploration of space through a narrative performance

The third workshop at College Park saw the group taking full ownership of the project. During their morning drama class the group had developed a drama piece focused on a central character, ‘Mr Lazy’, a new caretaker at College park who is constantly falling asleep in strange places around the school. During the afternoon workshop they performed this piece under the direction of a camera woman and an actor/come director. Collectively they explored possible camera angles and mastered the challenging concept of multiple takes so that a visually stimulating film could be cut together.

On a simple level this was a narrative based exploration of the schools facilities, which through the use of film allowed the group to view places from different perspectives; on a more complex level it was a portrayal of what is and what is not expectable in a school environment, and aportrayal of what we consider to be socially expectable.

We wait in anticipation for the second instalment of the saga to see why Mr Lazy just can not keep his eyes open…

Click on this link to see the film Mr Meshnoum.


Mr Meshnoum