Sunday, 17 June 2012

"Not the culture of power but the power of culture"

This slightly misquoted apercu from Edward Said ends the film documentary Shatila Theatre which documents the second tour of Britain by the Palestinian children's theatre troupe set up by our writer Peter Mortimer (the first tour, the background and the establishment of the troupe is outlined in the Five Leaves book Camp Shatila). Showing the film in Nottingham on Saturday, Peter outlined the plans of the Shatila Theatre Trust - organising exchange visits by street artists from the North East and Shatila camp, a joint choral project with singers from Shatila and the North East, and, thinking big, the possibility of a permanent theatre in Shatila. Peter is aware of the problems, aware that not everyone in Shatila welcomes this work and is mindful of the murder of Juliano Mer-Khanis, the late director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre. Yet seeing the transformation of a raggle taggle group of early teenagers into a troupe of actors and dancers, performing under the direction of a choreographer must make it all worth while. You can contact the Trust at The planned visit from the North East by street artists has had to be postponed because of the trouble in Syria spilling over into Lebanon, but later this year Shatila street artists are definitely coming to the UK.
Peter was in town to launch Made in Nottingham at a sodden and windswept Sherwood Festival. The weather conditions and the racket from the rock musicians an entire field away stopped the planned readings, but Peter will be in the Nottingham area again on 30th June at Lowdham Book Festival.

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