The Freedom Bus - Community Theatre

by The Freedom Theatre
The Freedom Bus will be more comfortable than this
The Freedom Bus will be more comfortable than this

Dear friend,

It's time for us to happily announce that the dates for the next Freedom Ride are set!

During March 19-30, 2015, people from across Palestine and the world will join communities in marginalized areas of the occupied West Bank, in a solidarity ride that will include volunteer work, guided walks, interactive workshops and cultural events. Through Playback Theatre, community members will share personal accounts about the realities of life and struggle in some of the most heavily targeted yet most resilient areas under occupation and oppression. 

The best part is, YOU can join this amazing adventure!

Through your support, you helped us realize the dream of carrying out freedom rides in occupied Palestine. In March next year, you can get on the Freedom Bus to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

See photos and read statements from previous participants on the Freedom Bus blog, where you will also find daily reports from the 2014 Freedom Ride. To register already now, there is a registration form available here

... and you will make friends for life!
... and you will make friends for life!

Links:

March Freedom Ride event
March Freedom Ride event

March 2015 may seem to be a long way away, but rest assured the Freedom Bus team is keeping busy preparing for the next Freedom Ride! Dozens of potential freedom riders have already contacted us, wanting to express their interest in what has by now become an almost legendary tour to some of the key areas of the occupied West Bank. Do you want to join us? Sign up today!

Find out why you need to join the next Freedom Ride here and read daily updates from the previous ride on the blog.

If you follow the work of The Freedom Theatre you know that the Freedom Bus project has grown to become an integral part of the theatre's work. Throughout the year we organize Solidarity stays in vulnerable communities - one of those is coming up in Bil'in in mid-October, and last week we arranged a second playback theatre training for villagers in the small community of Atuwani. 

Speaking of Atuwani; we have a very special project coming up, which emanates from this extraordinary village. Following the success of Our Sign is the Stone, based on stories from the village Nabi Saleh, The Freedom Theatre returned to Area C this summer to document the life and resistance of people in Atuwani in the South Hebron Hills. After extensive research with community members, most notably the women who play a central role in Atuwani's struggle, a play is now being developed, Atuwani, which will open on October 14th.

Like other Palestinian communities in Area C, Atuwani is under full Israeli civil and military control. In contempt of international law, Israel has established a discriminatory system where Palestinians in this area are denied access to their land and water, as well as basic services such as housing, health care and education for their children, while facing constant harassment by Israeli settlers from the illegal colonies nearby.

The production involves the first-year Theatre School students in the devising process and as actors.

“To me this play is a perfect exercise in cultural resistance”, says Faisal Abu Alheja who is directing Atuwani. “We go to a community that is facing unimaginable pressure and harassment from settlers and army. Yet they have managed to stay together, to fight together. We collect their stories, analyze them, turn them into a play, and then our students tell the stories to other communities around the West Bank.”

Atuwani will tour to villages, towns and refugee camps, among them of course Atuwani. 

To read more about Atuwani and the other three - yes, three! - productions we have lined up this autumn, visit our website.

 

March Freedom Ride event
March Freedom Ride event
Chat with locals in the Jordan Valley
Chat with locals in the Jordan Valley

Recently we at The Freedom Theatre have been very busy with a number of exciting things - while our third year students graduated and are now spreading their wings, we are also very happy to share with you that we have welcomed a new class of 11 students to our theatre school!

One of the first highlights of the Freedom Ride was our graduates' final performance as students on our stage – under the headline “The Commands” each of our promising talents performed a scene written and conceptualized on their own. Our Freedom Riders were in love with people and culture even before we boarded the bus to set out on what can only be described as an epic journey. We strongly believe everyone should join this ride at least once in their life!

On a scenic route through the Jordan Valley the group was so taken by the beauty of the landscape that it was easy to forget that we were indeed moving through an area claimed by the occupation forces for military exercises. A number of stops were made to meet local Bedouins who are forced to live in caves and structures made of tin and wood and listen to their accounts of resistance and suffering but also hope – and last but not least to conduct briefings similar to a crash course in how to deal with soldiers of the occupation forces in case of encounters.

And before long we got the chance to apply that newly gained wisdom: we were stopped by a group of Israeli soldiers on the grounds that this was a closed military firing zone. It made us realize how different and complicated the reality is that Palestinians are forced to deal with in order to literally hold their ground. 

Improving a school building with a new concrete floor in a small Bedouin village (while againbeing stopped by the Israeli army), attending the weekly Friday demonstration in Nabi Saleh and braving the fogs of teargas, witnessing an entire olive tree grove be destroyed by Israeli settlers and occupation forces, an abundance of interactive theatre and storytelling events - that and many other adventures followed. 

See our daily updated Freedom Bus blog diary to find out more about what happened during this year's Freedom Ride!

After two weeks the Freedom Ride had turned into a Freedom Family and parting ways was emotional, contact details were exchanged and pacts of future meetings sealed!

It is safe to say that this has been an experience that moved people closer, internationals and locals alike. No one will forget the Freedom Ride 2014 and even now, nearly two months later, we are proud to point out that the communication within the Freedom Family is well alive and kicking!

Olive tree planting
Olive tree planting
Building a school in Khirbet Samra
Building a school in Khirbet Samra
Strong bonds were forged between freedom riders
Strong bonds were forged between freedom riders
Interactive cultural events throughout the ride
Interactive cultural events throughout the ride
Equally strong bonds were created with locals
Equally strong bonds were created with locals

Links:

The countdown is on - only 10 days left!
The countdown is on - only 10 days left!

In ten days from today we will be setting out on our March Freedom Ride 2014!! To join us from afar, connect with us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thefreedombus) for daily updates on our progress and latest news!

To make sure that both volunteers and locals get the most out of this amazing endeavour, we have gone to visit some of the communities and created an itinerary for our two-week journey through occupied Palestine, which can be viewed on our website!

And having been lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the great things to come, I can assure you that if you are part of this year's group, you are in for a special treat. Different activities, walks through breathtaking landscapes, work with local communities and children, cultural events in the evenings that will make you want to never leave this country again…

It all adds up to a memorable and unique stay here in beautiful Palestine - and what better way to learn about the impacts of apartheid and occupation than to actively contribute to putting an end to them?

The souvenir you will take with you will be the smiles you are bound to put on children's faces, the unforgettable stories and fates shared during our playback theatre performances and the great new friends you will make for life.

Ready for it? We can't wait to welcome you here in the refugee camp of Jenin to prepare for what we already know will be an epic journey of discovery. Welcome onboard the Freedom Bus!

The Freedom Bus is still happy to welcome last-minute guests on board, and of course you can always be part through those vital donations which enable us to make a real difference to people's lives in the occupied territories of Palestine.

Ma’a salama from Jenin camp!

At-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills
At-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills
Dealing with the reality of occupation every day
Dealing with the reality of occupation every day
The Freedom Bus crew in action!
The Freedom Bus crew in action!

As-salam wa alaykum and hello from beautiful Jenin!

I hope this finds you well and the new year is still living up to all its promises!

It's an exciting time to be a supporter of the Freedom Bus: in little over one month, on the 17th of March, people from around the world and across occupied Palestine are setting out on what will be a historic Freedom Ride in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills. The March Freedom Ride will include interactive cultural events, workshops and guided walks. In communities subjected to home demolitions and settler violence, we will also engage in reconstruction work and protective presence activity.

The central feature of the March Freedom Ride remains the use of Playback Theatre. A troupe of Palestinian actors and musicians will invite stories from the audience and transform each account into a piece of improvised theatre.  

 

See photos and read statements from previous FreedomRide participants here.

 

The Freedom Bus is still taking participants - if you are interested you can register here or alternatively contact our co-ordinator Mashhor Affaneh (mashhor@thefreedomtheatre.org) for further information. Trust us, you don't want to miss this ride!

If you are unable to attend in person but wish to boost your support for the Freedom Bus - just in time for Valentine's Day, on the 12th of February, GlobalGiving will double the love that is sent to us and match donations received on the date!

Valentine's Day would be even more filled with love by a donation in the name of that special someone, or why not your favorite human rights hero. Those Valentine's chocolates will taste even sweeter and those flowers smell even better when presented along with a GlobalGiving gift card for the Freedom Bus!

Spread the word - all love shared through a donation multiplies like light shining through facettes of a diamond - it will reach so many people in so many different ways!

For more details and updates throughout the upcoming Freedom Ride, check out The Freedom Bus Facebook profile or follow us on Twitter: #FreedomBusPal.

 

Thank you again for your support, it enables us to make a real difference. We hope to welcome you aboard the Freedom Bus this March!

 

Best wishes and a love-filled Valentine's Day to you!

 

The Freedom Theatre Team
Through the barricades... in Nablus
Through the barricades... in Nablus
"A deeply moving and eye-opening experience..."
"A deeply moving and eye-opening experience..."

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Freedom Theatre

Location: Jenin, Palestine - Palestine
Website: http:/​/​thefreedomtheatre.org
The Freedom Theatre
Project Leader:
Jonatan Stanczak
Jenin, Occupied Palestine Palestine

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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