Theatre Day Productions stimulates young people in Gaza

October 2006 -

Theatre Day Productions has been producing theatre in the Gaza strip for ten years. The staff includes Americans, Palestinians and Dutch, and works with many Palestinian volunteers to provide professional theatrical training for young people from the age of 18, presenting performance for children and youth. The participants also receive training in theatrical technology, production and management, and workshops are organised. Theatre Day runs two theatres, in Hebron and Gaza. Because the municipality is using the building in Gaza more frequently, the organisation needed to find a different home. Theatre Day opened its own theatre in Gaza on 14 September 2006.

Will Janssen from DOEN Foundation attended the opening, and he was impressed. "Theatre Day has strong roots in the Palestinian community. Their performances reach many students. The actors are enthusiastic. The stage was exploding with energy! The building looks professional and can welcome an audience of 250. The people are proud and happy. Which is logical: their lives are hard. Their economy is rapidly deteriorating because the Hamas government receives no recognition. That is the very reason why this theatre is valuable: the organisation is well-attuned to the difficult circumstances."

Theatre Day wants theatre to become a part of the daily lives of young people, stimulating them to go their own way and develop spirit. Jan Willems, Theatre Day’s artistic director: "You cannot make theatre if you consider yourself a victim. Palestinians have been the victims of violence and oppression for a very long time. It is difficult for children not to behave like victims. When they are acting they lose the feeling of being a victim. My greatest challenge is to stimulate the children enough that they do not convert back to being victims once they leave the stage."

The theatre in Gaza is being financed by the Swedish International Development Agency, the Evangelische Entwicklungsdienst from Germany, Cordaid, Stichting Kinderpostzegels en DOEN Foundation from the Netherlands.