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we feel satisfied and happy. A young woman in our group called Christine, 19 years old, said that for her in a patriarchal society, nobody listens to her at home, at university and in the commu- nity. But in theater when she is on stage, everybody is forced to listen to what she has to say.

Another young man Yazan; said that before he started theatre he was lost and did not know where to go or what to do, but now when he does theatre he feels he belongs and in his place. He can speak freely and speak what is on his mind.

Another young girl called Mona, said that before she started theatre her voice was very low and she was very shy and not confident. Now her voice can reach the world and she can speak about her feelings and emotions freely.

Another young man called Nidal, said for him theatre has no limits, the limits are the sky.

When we as workers in theatre hear this from the young people this is when we are empowered and we continue to do what we do despite all problems and difficulties financially and politically.

On the community level and how it changed we can say that 15 years ago when people asked us what we do, they said “oh these are the crazy people who make fools of themselves on stage”, but today and because of all the work of artists in Palestine, people ask

us about our next performance, “what is the next project?” “Where is the next tour?” So this change does not happen overnight it needs time and the effort of all people working in the field of performing arts.

Using theatre in chaning attitudes of people towards children and people with special needs, or to- wards women or children is a clear evidence that

theatre is empowering for

people who make it, people who watch it and people who are involved in it.

Theatre in Palestine is a way of resistance of the Israeli Occupa- tion. A way and a language that people in the West understand as entertainment and accessory. For us making theatre under curfew is resistance. Making theatre and performing in different locations reaching audiences wherever they are is resistance. Training

young people for free in Palestine is creating a new empowered generation with hope and a reason to live, in a situation which has no hope, it is also peaceful resistance.

Touring outside Palestine with our theatre performances has made people abroad know Palestinians better and has encouraged them to question their views about Palestine and the occupation. It is as important to work inside Palestine as much as it is impor- tant to work outside and present the culture of Palestine and the daily lives of Palestinians.

Theatreis an empowering tool for those who make it and those who watch it.

For more information about Al-Harah Theatre/Palestine please contact : Marina Barham, Al-Harah Theatre, Virgin Street, Beit Jala, Palestine. Telefax: 0097222767758. E-mail alharahtheater@yahoo.com

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