Wednesday 19 August 2015

At the "Edinburgh" Annual Festival: Art Performances broadcast live from Gaza

During the Edinburgh Annual Festival, and an initiative from the British playwright, David Greig, a day will be allocated for performances from Palestine. The festival will host a variety of Palestinian Performers hosted by Forest fringe. In addition to this, the artists will engage in panel discussions and dialogues as well as participating in social and recreational activities.  

Crucially, the festival will include a special networking program to help the Palestinian performers connect and network with their British counterparts, via a week long residency, aimed at sharing knowledge and investigating future potential cooperation opportunities, as well as guiding the artists through the Fringe festival and its different performances.

The “Welcome in Edinburgh” projects aims to enable young artists with limited resources and from diverse backgrounds, to be heard and to take part in one of the world’s most important international festivals. 

In a statement he gave about the festival, David Greig, the organiser said: “the idea of this initiative came from my observation that the Palestinian voice was absent in Edinburgh, despite the fact that I hear the world talking about Palestine. However, I wasn’t able to hear Palestinian voices themselves. The initiative has received support from several individuals and funders, to help the idea succeed. The British Council and A.M. Qattan Foundation worked in Palestine to source and organize the artists and performance and secure their participation. I’m delighted to have this amazing group of Palestinian artists here in what I believe will be a very special day in Edinburgh.”

In addition to the live performances, other activities including movies, art exhibitions and cultural events will also be organized throughout the festival.    

The festival will include performances for the following artists: Fidaa Ataa. storyteller, Farah Saleh, Contemporary Dance, Ayman Nahas, From Haifa, (comic), Alice Youssef, poet,poetry and literature; Yazan Eweidat, Contemporary Dance , Al Shaghaf music group from Jenin and the program will be closed by “Shakespeare Sisters” a play by Al Harah Theatre.

The British Council is keen to Gazan voices represented, and due to the movement and travel restrictions faced by Gazan artists, live satellite broadcasting will be organized for “The Cage” a play produced by Ashtar Palestinian Theatre in partnership with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (regional office / Palestine). The play will be performed on Said Al Mishal, Gaza, on August 17, and broadcast live to St. Andrew Square – The stand space, in Edinburgh, at 10.00 p.m., Gaza time. 

“The Cage” reflects on the social and psychological conditions of Gazan citizens residing in shelters. This is told through the story of Haneen, a girl with shrapnel injuries to her feet and who needs to travel outside Gaza to receive medical treatment. A journalist writes and publishes a call for help to assist Haneen, which turns the girl’s case into a public event attracting visits of citizens, journalists and local and international officials. The play opens a window onto the pain and dilemas of those caught up in the violent conflict. 

The play is directed by playwright, director and actor Ali Abu Yassin, and is performed by eight actors who are all graduates of Ashtar Theatre in Gaza. 

The partners organizing this project in Palestine and the UK are: The British Council, The A.M. Qattan Foundation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (regional office / Palestine), Ashtar Theatre production and theatre arts training, Welcome to the Fringe, Forest Fringe, The Gate Theatre, Northern Stage. 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally. 

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