On March 21, The Freedom Theatre kicks off its ten-year anniversary with its annual Freedom Ride through the occupied West Bank, Palestine. For ten days, people from around the world and across Palestine will join residents in Jenin refugee camp, Nabi Saleh, Jordan Valley, South Hebron Hills, Bethlehem, Deheisheh refugee camp and Aida refugee camp.
The Freedom Bus project, an initiative of The Freedom Theatre, uses interactive theatre and cultural activism to bear witness, raise awareness and build alliances throughout occupied Palestine and beyond.
Endorsers of the Freedom Bus include Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Desmond Tutu, Omar Barghouti, Ramy Essam, Maya Angelou and Mairead Maguire (see full list of endorsers).
Through cultural events, community work, guided walks and forum discussions, Freedom Ride participants will learn from and contribute to the struggles of communities under constant threat of settler and army violence, home demolitions and forced displacement.
As residents share their experiences of resistance and strife under Israeli occupation and apartheid, The Freedom Theatre’s actors will use their renowned method of playback theatre to transform each account into a powerful improvisational theatre piece.
“I consider the Freedom Ride to be one of the most significant cultural solidarity initiatives in Palestine”, says Mustafa Sheta, Freedom Ride coordinator and secretary of the Board of The Freedom Theatre.
“The Freedom Ride goes to the most marginalised communities, whose residents are exposed to the toughest conditions of life, to participate in their daily circumstances. They get to directly see the strength of these people who are able to carry on with life and continue to struggle against the occupation and against the injustice.“
The popular resistance practiced and relationships built throughout the ride will transcend the borders of Palestine by strengthening international solidarity and contributing to the cross pollination of social movements around the world.
The 2016 Freedom Ride is organised by The Freedom Theatre in partnership with Jordan Valley Solidarity, Al Mufaqqara Popular Committee, Youth Against Settlements, Nabi Saleh Popular Committee and Al Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center.
The Ride is also part of The Freedom Theatre’s ten-year anniversary, commemorated in honour of its co-founder Juliano Mer Khamis and his legacy. The anniversary also includes a Theatre Festival and Forum on Cultural Resistance, April 4-9, in Jenin Refugee Camp.