- Title: MIDDLE EAST: Palestinian national theatre hosts international puppet festival
- Date: 4th November 2009
- Summary: ACTOR CARRYING FLUTE, PLAYING ROLE OF SHEPHERD VARIOUS OF THE PUPPET PERFORMANCE
- Embargoed: 19th November 2009 12:00
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVA7GWHXAWCRZEWEUHZODUTCZCPQ
- Story Text: An International puppet festival is being hosted by the Hakawati Palestinian National Theatre, with troupes touring to perform before children in Palestinian cities.
Dozen of Palestinian and International puppet troupes are touring Jerusalem, Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Arab towns in Israel to perform before Palestinian children as part of the 16th International Puppet Festival being hosted by the Hakawati Palestinian National Theatre, based in Jerusalem.
The festival aims to give Palestinian children the opportunity to participate in art and educational activities.
General manager of the al-Hakawati theatre, Jamal Ghosheh, said the festival has its beginnings when the theatre began organising puppet and other theatrical performances for Palestinian children during the 1987-1993 Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule of the Palestinian territories. During the uprising, known as the Intifada, Palestinian schools shut and children were out of class for months on end.
"The national theatre is hosting this sixteenth festival, based on an experience we had in 1989, when we wanted to offer children an alternative to their school classes (when schools were closed) because of the (first) Intifada (Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation). So our audience are children under the age of 18, or, more specifically, under the age of 15, who form the majority of Palestinian society," Ghosheh said.
The Sanabel Theatre Troupe performed the puppet play "The City of Happiness" before a group of children in Jerusalem. The play is set in a city which can be created anywhere through love, cooperation, and honesty among its residents.
"What I liked about the play is that one shouldn't get everything easily, one should know that everything has limits," said the child Abdul Rahim Barbar after watching the play.
Many of the performances in the festival focus on Palestinian political and social issues, in a manner accessible to children.
The festival also aims to encourage self expression and social interaction amongst Palestinian children, and share Palestinian culture, heritage, and traditions with others.
"We are trying through this festival to present the Palestinian people and actors with other experiences, so they can learn from these experiences. We also want the foreign actors to know more about our Palestinian situation and the circumstances under which we live," Ghosheh said.
French actor Jean Luc Bansard travelled with his performance, based on tales by Russian poet and author Alexander Pushkin, to the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.
"I learned that we should not be selfish and greedy," said the child Manar Sameh after watching the performance.
The festival opened on October 22 and runs through until November 4.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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