India-Palestine group to perform in 11 cities

‘Freedom Jatha’ will perform from December 18 to January 25  

Safdar Hashmi of Jana Natya Manch (Janam) was killed in 1989 while performing the famous street play Halla Bol. Juliano Mer-Khamis of The Freedom Theatre (TFT) in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank was gunned down in 2011 by a masked man outside the theatre.

The two groups share a similarity not just in the way their dynamic theatre-activist leaders died, but also in their broad understanding of the role of culture and theatre as potent weapons to bring about social and political change. Now, in a first-ever India-Palestine theatrical collaboration, the two groups are presenting a joint production in 11 cities across India, starting in Lucknow on Thursday.

The festival, titled ‘Freedom Jatha’ will travel between December 18 and January 25, and present shows in Bhopal, Delhi, Mumbai, Talassery, Mallapuram, Kozhikode, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Patna.

The programme will include the JNM-TFT play on the theme of occupation and resistance, a puppet performance on Palestine by internationally acclaimed puppeteer Anurupa Roy and her team Kat-katha, a photo exhibition on Palestine, the traditional Palestinian Dapke dance and poetry, songs and short performances by local artistes.

Janam describes this collaboration a result of “a direct, people-to-people contacts, unmediated by funding agencies or governments” at a point in time when the Indian government is more pro-Israel than ever before.

Mala Hashmi, a leading organiser of Janam, says the two groups have been in touch ever since the slaying of Juliano Mer-Khamis, who believed that oppression can be fought with plays, music, cinema.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 1:10:58 PM |

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