My verbatim theatre project at the Alrowwad Centre in the Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine.

by ray goodlass

Today I had my first session of my month long drama project at the Alrowwad Culture & Theatre Centre in the Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine. It went very well, and I’m relieved, stimulated and excited.

The idea is that the participants, young people from the camp, will interview camp residents about life in  the camp, which was established for those Palestinians displaced (the Nakba, catastrophe) by the Israeli war of conquest in 1948. I was worried that the staff might prefer we take and easier way of obtaining our source material from already published stories, but no, they were keen that the students, all middle high school age, do the interviewing.

On the way through the camp I saw a poster that gave me a clear theme for the play: The Nakba is not a memory, it is ongoing.

The whole project will be documented and filmed, and will form the first part of a joint electronic interactive between Alrowwad and the Friends of Alrowwad Australia (FOAA), of which I’m the Secretary. It was also pleasing to be able to hand over the funds AOAA has raised this past year for Alrowwad.

The staff I met with today were Ribal, the EO, and Isa, the film lecturer/director. Abdelfattah, the Executive Director, is overseas at the moment.

We will work everyday for a couple of hours, except Wednesdays, when Alrowwad is closed, meeting at 10.00 am.

So an excellent beginning to a project that is very close to my heart.