Ashtar Theater

Looking back and leaping forward

News and updates from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp

2016 - our ten-year anniversary - has been 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 have been involved in our workshops, trainings and performances in theatre, photo, film and creative writing. We have initiated several new programs, toured extensively and graduated our third class of full-time acting students after three years of study in acting, devising and cultural resistance. In a community facing multiple layers of oppression and fragmentation, that is no small feat.


This year we presented three new theatre productions, Math Exam, based on accounts by children in Jenin refugee camp, the street theatre play Return to Palestine, and Images from the life of Ghassan Kanafani by our final-year acting students. We offered child & youth theatre workshops as well as two summer camps. We opened our own Child Centre for small children and launched a training program in early childhood educationfor teachers from the whole Jenin area, initiating what we hope will be a revolution within an authoritative educational system. Our photography students made three  exhibitions and two issues of our youth magazine Voices were published. We organised a ten-day Freedom Ride with interactive cultural events in some of the most isolated Palestinian communities. We were also honoured to perform for Palestinian refugees in Jordan, deconstructing borders between Palestinians through the arts.
The highlight of the year was the six-day celebration of The Freedom Theatre's first decade, when friends from Palestine and the world gathered in Jenin refugee camp to look proudly upon the achievements of what our co-founder, the late Juliano Mer Khamis, called the ‘Cultural Intifada’, our joint Palestinian cultural resistance movement. The ten-year anniversary included workshops, performances by some of Palestine's top artists, cultural activism, networking, discussions, film screenings, guided tours and much more.