Les amis du théâtre de la liberté de Jénine

Freedom Theatre’s letter

samedi 22 octobre 2011

Dear friends and supporters of The Freedom Theatre

During the past six months, The Freedom Theatre has gone through a very difficult time. The murder of our beloved comrade Juliano resulted in a severe crisis. Everyone at the theatre had to deal not only with the shock of losing Juliano but also the uncertainty of not knowing who killed him or why - and the fear that perhaps they would be the next target. In addition, the theatre faced ongoing harassment by the Israeli army which rendered three innocent people in prison for up to a month. Most of the staff have had to make do with less than half of their normal salaries and sometimes delayed salaries. Despite all of this hardship and turmoil, the staff have managed to keep the theatre from collapsing.

The mobilization and dedication of our friends around the world played an invaluable part in getting us through the storm into what is now a period of contemplation and reorganization. It has in many ways brought us closer together as a team and reaffirmed our commitment to keeping The Freedom Theatre going and hopefully once again thriving. Through this letter, we wish to thank you for all your support and also update you on some of the recent developments at the theatre.

Jacob Gough, who functioned as interim managing director following the assassination of Juliano, has gone back to the UK but will hopefully return to the theatre during next year. Jonatan Stanczak, one of the founders of The Freedom Theatre who worked at the theatre during 2006-2009, was asked by the staff and Board to return and currently holds the position of acting general manager until there is a more permanent organizational structure in place. Jonatan also brought his wife Johanna Wallin and their six-month old daughter Jasmine. Johanna worked as a fundraiser at the theatre in 2008-2009 and has now resumed that position.

The first and third year Acting School students have spent the last months abroad, under the auspice of Nabeel AlRaee and Micaela Miranda, managers and trainers of the Acting School. The first year students have toured Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France making performances and participating in workshops ; they have had tremendous success with the play Sho Kman (What Else). The graduating third year students are currently touring the US, meeting acting students and teachers as well as performing the play While Waiting, inspired by Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot. These tours were made possible through the dedicated support and hard work of our friends associations. Rawand Arqawi and Ahmad Al-Araj from the theatre and multimedia departments both travelled to the UK during the summer to give presentations and establish new contacts and partners. Adnan Naghnariye, our locations manager, is currently attending a training course in Theatre Management in Germany.

In the meantime at the theatre in Jenin refugee camp the staff are busy restructuring the work and getting back to daily routines. We have started forming new drama and multimedia groups for children and youth. A new space has been set up in Jenin city to facilitate the Acting School activities, which will resume as soon as the students are back from their tours. Performances and film screenings are once again being held regularly in the theatre in the camp. A new community outreach program will soon begin, which will include graduated students as well as other groups in the community, who will practice Playback Theatre & Drama for Conflict Transformation and Trauma Response techniques under the guidance of Ben Rivers, psychotherapist and Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) practitioner from the US. Other new and interesting programs are also in the making, such as a Moving Theatre concept and a Street Theatre project.

Lisa Yankowski from the US and Johanna Wallin from Sweden constitute the new fundraising department of The Freedom Theatre. They are now focusing on assessing the present situation and securing funding for the coming years. It is clear at this stage that there is a great need for intensified funding efforts to ensure the theatre’s long-term sustainability.

The Freedom Theatre has always been a joint venture, gathering people around the world who wish to join, primarily, the children and youth of Jenin refugee camp in their struggle against occupation and injustice. The hub of those efforts was and continues to be the activities of our friends associations. From the very start of The Freedom Theatre you were an integral part of our work, not only in fundraising but also in the allocation of trainers and volunteers and sometimes even the management of the theatre. 

We cherish this partnership and would first and foremost want to know how we can assist you in your efforts to support The Freedom Theatre. Are there any specific activities where you need our input, any fundraising events that you are planning, material that you would like us to provide, general ideas you might have on how to increase the long-term support for The Freedom Theatre, etc. Whatever it may be, we are happy to get your input.

The fundraising department would also like to encourage you to scan your local donor "market" for grants that could be applied for, either by The Freedom Theatre directly, by you as a friends association or as a joint project between The Freedom Theatre, you and/or other organisations. We are convinced that you have much better insight into possible donors in your respective countries and there may also be funds available only to local organisations. In addition, this could open up for very exciting partnerships between us and other organisations. The fundraising department would of course provide you with all necessary assistance in putting together proposals, project plans, reports etc.

Just to give some food for thought, the following are areas which The Freedom Theatre’s work fit into : performing arts, multimedia, social media, arts education and training, drama therapy, cultural work, children and youth, women’s rights (with a special focus on empowering girls and young women), social change, rehabilitation, heritage and identity, refugees, and health.

By sending this letter to all of you jointly, we also wish to facilitate increased communication between the different friends associations. We strongly encourage you to use this network to exchange ideas and experiences.

In conclusion, The Freedom Theatre is now moving out of crisis and into a future that is uncertain but hopeful. There are questions that remain unanswered and many wounds yet to heal but one thing is certain ; we are determined to honour the legacy of Juliano through continuing our struggle for freedom through culture. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

The Freedom Theatre

through
Johanna Wallin

johanna@thefreedomtheatre.org

+970 599 536242+46 (0)737 421678
Office : +970 4 250 33 45
Fax : +970 4 250 32 19

www.thefreedomtheatre.org
www.voices.ps
www.actingschool.ps


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